The Food ‘X’ Factor: How Ingredient Perceptions Allied to Consumer Sentiment Drive Product Development and R&D

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Title: The Food ‘X’ Factor: How Ingredient Perceptions Allied to Consumer Sentiment Drive Product Development and R&D

2-Sentence Summary: This presentation will show that, indeed, some consumers care more than others about food; and those that do influence product development and formulations, but they lack understanding and confidence that becomes skepticism and distrust. Leveraging trended clean label research and consumer perceptions data we’ll dive into what these groups really want and why industry should listen and care.


IFF has regularly undertaken consumer perceptions research in the last 5 years trying to understand if consumers really pay attention to or care about the information provided by their food and beverage products. Questions such as:

  • Do all consumers care about their food composition or just some?
  • What do they think of specific ingredients?
  • Why do they reject some ingredients?
  • Do these opinions really influence purchase behavior?

Originally started as ‘Clean Label’ research, the findings have helped companies to determine brand strategies based on:

  • What consumers really want from their food
  • Are they really that concerned about soy protein?
  • Do ‘X’s and ‘Y’s make a difference?
  • Do they reject a product because there are ingredients they don’t know?
  • Do all consumers ‘care’ or ‘distrust’ to the extent they would reject a product?

If the answers to the above are all ‘yes’, then ingredient formulation choices surely impact revenue and the ability to deliver outstanding taste and texture at acceptable prices (for consumer and producer). And equally, if this is true, we should (and we do) care because the use of one ingredient may directly reduce the volume purchased. The answers, however, are not all ‘yes’. We will also talk about what ingredients matter, to whom and why because industry does care.

Plant-based meat alternatives is currently one of the key focal points for food science. We’ll use the learnings from the research to determine the implications for this exciting new category and the associated product development strategies.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Does every consumer care equally about what’s in their food and does it have implications for how food is developed? 
  2. Is industry really in tune with what the consumer cares about? Do they need to be?
  3. Do our ingredient choices really determine if a product will be purchased or not? Looking at the examples of high fructose corn syrup, soy protein and more.

Event Type: Science FIRST

Format Type: Individual Presentation




Areas of Focus