Imagine you are at a party. You’re hungry and stumble upon the dessert table...you can’t help staring at that luscious, tempting nut cake.
The cake’s visual features provide your brain with plenty of information regarding its taste, texture and smell.
Now, you suddenly find yourself dipping your fork in a spongy slice of it. As soon as you taste the first bite, small sugar and vanilla molecules softly melt on the surface of your tongue, while the taste receptors send electrical messages to the gustatory cortex , the center of taste in your brain.
What you’re experiencing, the delicious taste of this cake, however, does not come from the receptors on your tongue. It comes from your smell receptors.
Now, just to “scale down” your romantic relationship with this nut cake, let me tell you a bit more about the processes that are going on into your brain.
Information about the nuts' and the sponge cake's chemical composition, processed by your smell receptors, are sent to the odor centers of your brain, giving back to you an "image of the cake’s aroma". As long as you keep on biting the cake, the crispy sound produced by the nuts being shattered by your teeth will contribute to your perception of the cake’s sweetness.
This happens because each food has its own "soundtrack".
"High-frequency sounds enhance the food palatability – making it taste delicious and satisfying"
The sound produced by foods provides your brain with precious information about the properties of what you are eating, whether nutritious or "light".
Not only sounds, but also sight and touch deeply influence your perception of flavors.
"The brain uses visual information in order to build expectations about the food, its texture, creaminess, freshness, softness, odour and taste"
In a recent study we found that a chocolate mousse is perceived as sweeter if presented in a white plate, compared to the same mousse, but served on a blue or black plate. The chocolate mousse plate’s color also impacts the brain activity at early stages of visual processing.
So now, let’s translate these information into practical neuromarketing strategies to spice up the promotion of your food & beverage products:
1. Add some "crunchy" cues.
Make it easy for your customers to anticipate the taste of the food you’re promoting – especially at the Point of Sale.
The research shows that the brain is promptly activated by high-textured, yummy-looking food pictures. So, add luscious details to the images of food in counter stand-ups, hanging banners, wall posters, etc.
Use very close shots and zooming to improve shape and prospective of the presented dish.
But, above all, use “crunchy” details, which will help the brain anticipate the pleasure of biting and chewing the food. Crunchable images trigger a prompt "spark" of several motor and sensory brain areas and stimulate the production of ghreline, an hormone involved in the lust for food.
2.Use multi-sensory words.
When describing your food product, use words that refer to all senses to facilitate your consumer's emotional involvement. The sensory storytelling of food can promote the imagination of food taste and stimulate the pleasure centers in the brain.
3. Suggest some action.
Use spoons or any other tool to suggest the food is ready to eat. Triggering some action by showing a spoon or knife next to the food or digging into it, enhances activity in the pre-motor and gustatory cortex.
The brain loves learning through manipulation and action, either directly or by observing others doing it. Therefore, if you manage to actually show how the food can be tasted, by providing a spoon next to it, you’ve got your viewers completely hooked.
Moreover watching someone manipulate kitchen tools, triggers activity in the "mirror-neurons" circuit of the brain, meaning that simply observing someone doing an action (e.g. slicing an onion, kneading, pouring cream on the top of a cake) is enough to activate the same circuits in our brain as you were actually performing the same action.
Want to learn real and actionable neuromarketing hacks and improve your marketing strategies? Join our Neuromarketing Coach Workshop, the 6th of May 2017 in London https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/neuromarketing-coach-workshop-tickets-30844995211 .