In this theme, research is focused on understanding why consumers' food choices, preferences and perceptions differ, how personal values affect consumer behaviour and what is driving food choice in different markets. Consumer and sensory scientists work together assessing product quality, benchmarking food products in the market and determining the effects of product variations on a food's sensory characteristics. Such information is required when developing a product with new functionality, a new recipe formulation or a new processing technique. The eating experience is complex, with our sensory perception being governed not only by taste and flavor, but how the food matrix is broken down during consumption and the flavor is released. Currently we are extending our research capability to include psychophysical methods and we are implementing cognitive psychology in sensory evaluations to better understand consumer hedonics in natural eating contexts.
We are equipped with state-of-the-art GC-MS-O equipment to combine identification and quantification of flavour compounds with sensory characteristics. Regular analysis of flavour compounds in foods such as beer, fermented dairy products, wine, honey and fruits is conducted using GC-FID and GC-MS with different sample preparations. We have PTR-MS in our facility to follow the release of volatile organic compounds on-line enabling flavour release to be determined in vivo (during consumption).
We have facilities to conduct sensory tests under controlled conditions (booths) which are equipped with computerised data collecting software (Compusense Inc.). Additional portable booths are available for large scale sensory testing. Our sensory science facility has food grade preparation areas and break out rooms for focus group discussions. We have a trained sensory panel available for descriptive sensory analysis.
We have access to a range of both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis facilities and software. Our facilities include a meeting room with video and audio cameras for conducting focus group sessions or one-on-one interviews. We have access to food grade kitchens where observational techniques can be used to understand consumers’ cooking and eating practices. Market research can be conducted using our Qualtrics on-line survey platform. Our data analysis software includes NVivo and SPSS.
'Fresh is Best' – a Project for Goodman Fielder
ENERGY longitudinal cohort study – Exploring sensory, metabolic, and neural changes during pregnancy
Current and previous Consumer related PhD and Master's research projects.