Smelling strawberries and summer time

06/23/2014 04:40:00 PM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstComing out of a drug-induced haze over the past few days (not to worry, it was general anesthesia at the hospital), I find plenty of interesting news in the produce world upon my return.

In particular, we see that strawberries are the go-to fun fruit of Britain, says new research from Britain’s Centre for the Study of the Senses at the School of Advanced Study’s Institute of Philosophy. From the press release, the veritable “team of scientists investigated the link between emotions, taste and smell to find the next ‘sensorial hit; to take the foodie world by storm.”

The results of the study found that strawberries clang the bell of British senses like no other fruit. More than three quarters of consumers in Britain said the smell of fresh strawberries triggers summer memories, and 64% happily said the smell of strawberries summoned thoughts of sunshine.

The study said that “soundscapes” can enhance the sensory appeal of the fruit, with the sounds of a picnic or a lawn being cut helping enhance the taste compared with sounds of people in the office or commuting.

Researchers found consumers didn’t have quite the elevated sensory experiences with other fruit. From the news release: “Other fruits such as apples and bananas spark visions of munching breakfast on the go or cramming in lunch at their desk.” As someone who had an apple and a banana in a plastic bag for lunch, I know where this perception might come from.

Interesting research, but useful? I wonder how this research in the United Kingdom might compare with a similar study in the U.S. What fruit do you think would score the biggest in the “sensory realm” in the U.S.? Peaches, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe, papaya, or something else? Check out Monsanto’s take on the sensory appeal of produce in this blog post. One thing that advertising and marketing can do is to create bridges to the sensory appeal, just like the ice cream company’s ad recalls the simple summer days when hand-cranked home-made ice cream was offered to all the kids. Speaking of, I’ll take mine with strawberries on top. Exploiting “sensory appeal” may be one way for marketers to create more “craveability” of fresh produce, though it will be hard to compete with the advertising appeal of burger and fries.


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