GLOBAL TASTE PREFERENCES: OUR MAP
So what exactly does “global taste mapping” mean?
If you were to Google it, you’d certainly be surprised, because hits for this topic are rather few and far between!
For the last few years, we have been working on a brand-new project, which studies the tastes and dietary habits of people around the world.
With the aid of our very own Sensory Experts and Taste Analysts, we have carried out various studies to map the taste preferences of the populations in many countries around the world.
The objective of the project is to fine-tune our algorithms and simplify other products, in addition to wine, coffee, and digestive liqueurs, which are still too far-placed from the tastes of end consumers to be popular.
HOW THE PROJECT BEGAN
The project was prompted by the need to adapt our taste tests for the products we handle and align them with international models personalized for each specific country.
Understanding local tastes is not only about knowing the most popular traditional recipes or which products are consumed the most in a country, but also involves understanding the motivations behind those consumer preferences.
Investigating the historical, geographical and cultural reasons that have determined a country’s shared sense of what “tastes good” and what “tastes disgusting”.
But let’s take a step back: who are Taste Analysts and Sensory Experts?
Taste Analysts and Sensory Experts are brand new professional figures, created within the Vinhood project.
They are taste experts, such as, for example, sommeliers (in the fields of wine, beer, coffee, oil), chefs and foodies who, as well as distinguishing themselves for their sensorial abilities, are also well-versed in ITC, which enables them to study taste-related data and prepare the logics of the Vinhood algorithms
Each country is studied using a well-defined approach that is developed in three phases:
1. MARKET RESEARCH
Our initial research studies the consumption habits of a certain country.
The Vinhood sensory experts engage with local figures who are experts on taste (like chefs, sommeliers, teachers, farmers, etc.). They are qualified to offer us a comprehensive panorama of the dietary habits of a certain country, so their contributions are essential for helping us learn more about its culinary culture.
These interviews provide a banquet of exquisite food for thought, offering a different perspective essential for helping us become familiar with the tastes of the country in question.
For example, in the Philippines, the concept of dividing meals into carbohydrates and protein doesn’t exist. Instead, meals are divided by flavor, so a dish will always be composed of a neutral component, such as rice or noodles, and a flavorsome component, that might be a vegetable, a protein or a soup, defined as “ulam”: the tasty part of the meal.
2. CREATION OF A TASTE POLL
Once we have identified the typical dishes and foods of each country, we perform market research using both open and closed questions. The main objective of this phase is to gather real data on how people’s taste preferences can be effectively broken down. Our Sensory experts then analyze the answers and create a taste map for the country, which includes a comment rating its taste parameters and main habits.
3. DATA PROCESSING AND CREATION OF THE TASTE TEST
At this point, once the data has been collected and processed, our Sensory Experts, also by engaging with local taste experts, work towards identifying the right questions and answers to use in our own taste test, the purpose of which is precisely to profile the palate of individuals.
A simple test comprised of six questions about dietary habits that enables us to discover our taste #character and therefore the products best suited to our preferences.
Over these two years, we have interviewed a total of approximately 1500 people, and at the moment, more than 20 countries have been analyzed, including the United States, Russia, Germany, Spain, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Colombia, Poland, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Romania, the Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea, and the U.A.E.
But we have plans to extend the initiative to other destinations, such as Greece, Bulgaria, Slovakia, South Africa, and Turkey.
The most interesting aspects of this research project have been its evolution and enormous potential, which we are increasingly becoming aware of as time goes by.
Understanding how certain foods and beverages are perceived on a global level offers us ideas about how to present certain Italian products abroad and vice versa, and how to help consumers make the most responsible choices, in line with their taste preferences.
Mapping a country’s tastes also enables us to identify the new products to which we can apply our solution, and so build an ever more versatile bridge between the world of F&B production and the end consumer.
This is an ambitious project, and also it is very complicated to organize properly. However, we reckon we have laid the right foundations for ensuring its successful launch and development, even if we know that the road ahead is long and tortuous.
We’ll soon have more interesting facts to tell you, so stay tuned!