|Author(s): Hy Mariampolski, Michael Cook
Collection: Congress 2008 - Frontiers
Keywords: Ethnographic Research
|PDF version (download)|
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During the spring and summer of 2007, Givaudan sponsored and QualiData executed a global ethnographic study to support the discovery and development of novel chicken flavors. Aiming for intensive consumer immersion at the point of flavor creation, researchers and product creation experts went shopping with homemakers and, then, watched and tasted as chicken dishes were prepared within multiple regions in eight countries: USA, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, France, Spain, China and Indonesia.
A critical idea underlying the study’s design is that the experience of flavor is more than just sensory; it is also deeply cultural. At the intersection of cuisine, culture and cognition, eating food is a universal experience in which people gain the satiation that sustains human life while achieving gustatory pleasures that affirm both the ego and memberships in social groups.
Flavors are created within cultures through a complex process that is intensely local. Identification with and preferences for flavors, aromas and tastes are imprinted early in life and lie within the deeper structures of human brains. Flavor memories and desires are associated with basic relationships of family, kin, clan and ethnic group. Understanding the cultural sources of flavor gave Givaudan a substantial number of ideas for further testing and development. This presentation, filled with scenes from this colorful study, will share some of these ideas as well as advice for implementing global ethnographies and making certain that research results get translated into new product innovations.