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Food Manufacture speaks to Jen Bromley, PhD and head of plant research and development at London-based vertical farming innovator Vertical Future, to find out more. 

Food liking is a key driver that repeatedly brings consumers back to the same food choices.

When it comes to product development, taste is paramount. In 2020, 88% of consumers confirmed that taste is the primary reason for buying a food item, the International Food Information Council Foundation’s survey found.​ 

Taste ranked above price (70%), healthiness (60%), convenience (52%) and environmental sustainability (34%) as the prime influencer of consumer decision making when purchasing food. 

“Taste is the key driver of this preference, though what we laypeople consider taste is part of a multi-sensory experience that includes multiple senses including touch, taste and smell,” ​says Bromley. Much of what consumers might call taste is linked to aroma, she explains. A product can be convey sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami or fat notes on the tongue, while its smell is perceived through the nose. 

“In our experience of fresh produce, particularly salads, vegetables and fruits, consumers are looking for something they can taste with a strong or recognisable flavour and not something that is taste-neutral, which might often be described as watery. 

“But they also want more than just produce that tastes good—more and more consumers are looking for food that looks good, benefits their nutrition and also that it stays fresher for longer.”​ 

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