Western Europe united by crunchers and chewers
The United Kingdom (UK) is a nation of crunchers and chewers, according to a new report, ‘Eating Styles – A Complete Guide to our Unexpressed Love of Food’.
The report by global ingredient solutions provider, Ingredion, display the results of a survey* conducted with almost 500 consumers across Western Europe to identify their preferred eating style - chewer, cruncher, sucker and smoosher. These four universal eating styles describe how individuals manipulate food in the mouth. People 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.
The report concluded that 34% of the UK are crunchers and 33% are chewers, while 41% said the sucker eating style was least like them. The findings are similar to those found across the rest of Western Europe, with both Germany and France also proving to be nations of crunchers and chewers.
Severine Bensa, European Marketing Manager Texture at Ingredion commented: “For decades we have focussed on taste as the dominating factor affecting food preferences and enjoyment levels. Now, more and more companies are looking to understand the influence of other sensory attributes, in particular the role texture plays.
“There are people that crave the crunch of a salty crisp, while others love the feel of a smooth vanilla pudding. This report shows that all of us, regardless of food type, will try and make that specific product work for them. Much like the rest of Western Europe, the UK has a high proportion of chewers and crunchers who use their teeth to break down foods. However, the UK was split fairly evenly between crunchers and chewers, but in Germany there was a higher percentage of chewers and in France a higher percentage of crunchers. This shows how there are regional differences across Europe that could affect consumer product choice.
“However, consumers find it difficult to articulate their texture preferences and can struggle explaining why they like or dislike a product even though it is very important to them subconsciously. This report taps into those unexpressed food preferences.”
This report draws on research over the last 50 years into unexpressed food preferences and subconscious responses, to create insights that Ingredion is sharing with manufacturers to help them understand their customers’ texture preferences and develop products that are more appealing.
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, in some way, bring some crunch.
- Chewers –like food that is moist, food must not break down in the mouth but deliver a long, full chewing sensation.
- Smooshers - process and eat foods slowly, food must be smooth and 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.
Bensa continues: “What is interesting is that neither taste or texture are the singular dominant factor, it is the fit between both texture and eating style which also dictates satisfaction of a particular product. A cruncher, for example, might stack multiple crisps at once to make a bigger crunching sound. By applying these insights, manufacturers can develop food products 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.
“And this is universal. So although the report identified slight differences among countries, for example with the UK having fewer chewers than Germany, no matter where they live, the research shows that a chewer in the UK is the same as a chewer in the U.S. or the UK. As revealed in a workshop on yoghurts, each eating style stayed true to form, with the chewers choosing to increase the ‘chewability’ of a thicker, Greek style yoghurt by mixing in fruit or granola. This is contrast to the smooshers who prefer to enhance the smooth, creamy experience of the yoghurt by not having additions at all.”
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.
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