Sensory experiences define our relationship with food, from the tastes we crave to the aromas we savor. This is the creaminess and the crunchiness, the ooeyÃ¢â‚¬Âgooey and the aromatic, the frosty cold beer and the soothing hot chocolate. These personal and sensuous experiences are what take food from simply nourishing our bodies to survive to ultimately nourishing our souls for fulfillment.
In this white paper, we’ll examine how the full range of our senses, and the sensory experiences they represent, guide our decisionÃ¢â‚¬Âmaking process when it comes to what we eat. Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we’ll see how these experiences are evolving to not only meet our basic needs, but also to fulfill our quest for selfÃ¢â‚¬Âesteem and selfÃ¢â‚¬Âactualization.
- At the Physiological level, we’ll see how small changes in the sensory experience can improve the process of meeting our most fundamental needs.
- At the Safety level, we’ll consider the trend toward simplicity seen throughout the
food industry, from fare with fewer ingredients to products with minimalistic packaging.
- At the Belonging level, we’ll explore the desire for togetherness at mealtime, from
familyÃ¢â‚¬Âstyle restaurants to potluck dinner parties.
- At the Esteem level, we’ll see how the quest for unique tastes and experiences are
impacted by sensory encounters of all sizes and price points.
- At the SelfÃ¢â‚¬ÂActualization level, we’ll come to understand that at the pinnacle of the
hierarchy, food’s sensory appeal can be found in the experience itself.
The backdrop for this journey is our own culture of change, one deeply impacted by the economic uncertainty of the times and the transformation that has wrought on grocery shelves, restaurant menus and family dinner tablesâ€”and one that offers an opportunity to meet the shifting needs of consumers.