Four eating styles are revealed – crunchers, chewers, smooshers and suckers
It’s not just what you eat, but how you eat that’s important, according to a new report, ‘Eating Styles – A Complete Guide to our Unexpressed Love of Food’.
The report from Ingredion looks at research into texture and mouth behaviour* and explores how the physical way consumers eat influences their food preferences and satisfaction levels.
Four clear universal eating styles emerged from the research - crunchers, chewers, smooshers and suckers. Individuals in each of these categories were found to experience food differently, and therefore to prefer foods with certain textures as these delivered the most enjoyment.
Severine Bensa, European Marketing Manager Texture at Ingredion explains:
“Everyone enjoys their food a little bit differently, in particular how they manipulate food in their mouth, and this affects our satisfaction and enjoyment levels. We have examined and categorised these eating styles to build greater insights that show what we eat - our texture preferences and food choices - is influenced by how we eat - our eating style.
“We’ve known for millennia that taste, and to an extent food trends, drive consumer purchasing behaviour, its only in the last decade we have delved into the influence of the other senses. We’ve found that texture has a huge impact on consumers liking or disliking a product, but we also know consumers find it difficult to articulate texture preferences and especially why they don’t like something. This report draws on research over the last 50 years into unexpressed food preferences and subconscious responses, to create insights that manufacturers can use to know their customers’ texture preferences better.”
An overview of the four eating styles:
- Crunchers – eat their food forcefully and noisily, and are often fast eaters. Recipes targeted at this group should fracture upon biting.
- Chewers – can be short or long chewers, food must not break down in the mouth but deliver a long, full chewing sensation.
- Smooshers - process and eat foods slowly, food must not be chewy but able to be broken down and held in the mouth for a long time.
- Suckers – focus on extracting all the flavour from a food before chewing, they tend to be slow eaters.
The report shows that eating styles determine enjoyment of a product which in turn impacts consumer choice and buying behaviour. Applying these insights means food products can be developed with texture and sensory attributes that improve their appeal, whether it’s creating desired creaminess or smoothness, or optimising the bite of crispy, crunchy foods.
“It’s not just about formulation, interestingly, our consumer eating styles workshops also showed how important it is that any specific texture claims made on the label are delivered in the eating experience. We discovered that if someone is attracted to a texture claim and feels that the eating is consistent with that claim, they will be more likely to repeat buy and stay loyal to the brand.
“However, we also found the opposite was true. Consumers are dissatisfied with products when the label is misleading and the texture isn’t reflected in the eating experience. So if it says extra creamy on the label, manufacturers have to deliver. This means formulation, or reformulation, expertise must be able to fulfil texture attributes, whatever the processing conditions.”
With over 60 years’ experience in texturising food and beverages, Ingredion can use descriptive sensory analysis and oral processing alongside market research to identify the sensory attributes consumers find difficult to articulate, and ultimately deliver the desired texture consumers want in the finished product.
*Research from the Understanding and Insights Group (U & I) in 2012-13 found that people fall into four major Mouth Behaviour categories. Ingredion has extended this to include emotional drivers, consumer research and other sensory analysis to define the four different eating styles.
Ingredion Incorporated (NYSE: INGR) is a leading global ingredient solutions provider. We turn grains, fruits, vegetables and other plant materials into value-added ingredients and biomaterial solutions for the food, beverage, paper and corrugating, brewing and other industries. Serving customers in over 100 countries, our ingredients make crackers crunchy, yoghurts creamy, candy sweet, paper stronger and add fibre to nutrition bars. The main trading companies within the EMEA region are Ingredion UK Limited, Ingredion Germany GmbH and Ingredion South Africa Pty Limited. Visit emea.ingredion.com to learn more.
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