AZTI-Tecnalia is working on a pioneering methodology that is seeking to identify the emotions linked to the consumption of food; the idea is to design new products and new actions for communication focussing particularly on the reality of companies and their customers.
Emotions play a decisive role in buying decisions, so in its sensory laboratory the AZTI-Tecnalia expert R&D centre in marine and foodstuff research is conducting studies to identify the emotions (desires, aspirations and motivations, among others) that influence the behaviour of consumers and habits associated with food. The aim is to orientate and focus the design of new products and establish them on the market on the basis of deeper knowledge about the emotions that lie behind them.
According to Leire Barañano, head of AZTI-Tecnalia's Foodstuff Research Unit, "the benefits of these studies for the foodstuff industry are many, since they not only help to identify new market niches, they also indicate which food trends are set to make an impact on these niches and on society in general. This will make it possible to address the present and future needs of consumers before the competition does so."
"If we know about the emotional side of food consumption," says Barañano, "companies will be able to develop new products designed to provide experiences that are becoming more accepted and being increasingly demanded by consumers, as well as other new ones that could be incorporated onto the market." And it does not stop there, she concludes, "it is an indispensable tool for designing communication and marketing actions that will score a bull's-eye in terms of consumers' emotions."
Emotions associated with consuming coffee
One of the first studies carried out by AZTI-Tecnalia in collaboration with Café Fortaleza has focussed on analysing which emotions are aroused by the moments when we drink coffee, a beverage that after water is consumed the most worldwide.
The reason why this product is so appreciated can be found in the positive emotions it arouses. In fact, the results of the study carried out reveal that coffee arouses a positive emotional charge among the people who drink it, and its consumption is linked to the emotions of pleasure, activity, energy and happiness, in that order.
The emotions associated with coffee consumption are all of a positive nature, as the 'emotional test' created by AZTI-Tecnalia has been able to confirm.
To conduct it, a total of 35 terms relating to the emotions, like enthusiasm, affection, aggressiveness, boredom, interest, etc. were specified. The people participating in the research had to indicate what kind of emotion coffee aroused in them. To carry out this study, three situations involving the most frequent consumption were established: morning coffee, coffee drunk socially and coffee drunk leisurely.
The study has been led by Maruxa García-Quiroga, head of the R&D centre's sensory laboratory. According to this expert, "drinking coffee is linked to positive emotions relating firstly to pleasure, present in a prominent way in the vast majority of responses."
The coffee drunk in the morning is linked to activity, energy and kindness. It is also linked to pleasure and, in fact, the start of the day is the moment preferred by consumers to enjoy a cup of this beverage. Coffee drunk socially is linked, depending on the atmosphere and the company in which it is drunk, with activity, affection, yearning, friendship, satisfaction, good nature and pleasure. Coffee taken leisurely leads to sensations of calm, sweetness, peace, happiness and tranquillity.
"When it comes to linking coffee consumption with the emotions, we have not found any link with negative sensations," asserts the researcher. But, as García-Quiroga concludes, the great achievement of research of this type is being able to cross "consumer profile, the moments of consumption and the emotions that affect it, three key components for creating products, services and publicity campaigns focussing on actual market needs."
Iñaki Vidaurrazaga, head of Marketing at Café Fortaleza, has explained how by using the information obtained in this study, they have decided "to reinforce and touch up some of the messages we transmit to the consumer, and also to decide when those on whom we want to focus the communication of our products consume the beverage."