Importance of Understanding Mouth Behavior when Optimizing Product Texture now and in the future
- M. A. Jeltema, J. B. Beckley, J. Vahalik.
- Pp. 423–442 in Y. Dar and J. Light, eds. Food…
The current paradigm for developing products that will match the marketing messaging is flawed because the drivers of product choice and satisfaction based on texture are misunderstood. Qualitative research across 10 years has led to the thesis explored in this research that individuals have a preferred way to manipulate food in their mouths (i.e., mouth behavior) and that this behavior is a major driver of food choice, satisfaction, and the desire to repurchase. Texture, which is currently thought to be a major driver of product choice, is a secondary factor, and is important only in that it supports the primary driver-mouth behavior. A model for mouth behavior is proposed and the qualitative research supporting the identification of different mouth behaviors is presented. The development of a trademarked typing tool for characterizing mouth behavior is described along with quantitative substantiation of the tool's ability to group individuals by mouth behavior. The use of these four groups to understand textural preferences and the implications for a variety of areas including product design and weight management are explored.