Understanding Flavour Preference


We spend a lot of time, effort and budget trying to deliver the best flavours, aromas etc. but do we really understand what we mean by the best flavour?

Is it the best flavour because most people choose it in blind tests? Does that mean that they will always buy it over the alternatives or is this too sweet, too indulgent, too rich … for everyday consumption?

Is the best flavour for this needstate/occasion different to the best flavour for another?  Which aspects of taste, texture etc. are consumers happy to compromise for a cheaper price or for greater convenience…  which are they not willing to compromise (ever)?

How will flavour preferences change over time?

Yet for me there are two questions relating to all of the above:

  • Why?


  • How as brand owners can we keep up with or even control changes in flavour preferences?

Understanding flavour and flavour preferences is very complicated when you focus upon the sensory aspects of flavour, but when you take a step back and understand that every consumption experience prompts an emotional response in your consumers and it is this emotional response that they like or dislike then we can really start to understand – and predict – what is happening.

At The Marketing Clinic we always start with understanding the consumers’ emotional journey and what the ideal emotional delivery of the product would be. We then establish how and why your positioning, communications, taste, texture and other sensory aspects of the product deliver those emotions. This allows us to describe – in some detail – the ideal combinations of sensory delivery, communications etc. that will generate the best emotional response – i.e. what your product should taste like for the greatest numbers of target consumers to buy it the most often.

When you start with the consumers’ emotional journey you begin to understand how flavour works in your products, what it delivers for your consumers and why. When you understand this you start to understand why and how taste preferences may change for the same product on different occasions and how and why taste palates change over time.

When you start to think about delivering the right emotional journey to your consumers it changes the way you think about your product, the way that you approach product development, communication etc. Taste and flavour become tools that you are using to deliver the best products to your consumers. Tools that you understand how to use in the most subtle of ways.

And, like anything done skilfully and with true understanding, you make it look easy while totally baffling your competitors as to how you do it.