PODCAST- Multisensory
Sep 29, 2016 • By

PODCAST: Making food your five senses will love

It’s not only the taste of food that captures our imagination. It’s also the sound, the look, the feel and the scent.

Our five senses – taste, sound, sight, touch and smell – work together in a sort of sensory stew, to steer us toward the food products we may buy and ultimately enjoy eating.

And they’re all connected and guided by our brain.


“Food and drink are among the most multisensory experiences that we have,” says Charles Spence, a professor in experimental psychology at Oxford University. “All of the sensory areas come together, so understanding the mind of the taster and how the brain combines to deliver rich flavor experiences is important.”


Spence says it’s about what we anticipate from an experience with a product or food item, as we look at something on the shelf, in our hands or in a restaurant.

“We live in a world of taste expectations,” he says. “We always expect something before we taste something … Maybe the mouth is the least interesting bit as far as eating and drinking is concerned.”


The senses shape the work General Mills has historically done to create our products. Sensory considerations can be found in the aroma of a cereal, the crunch of a granola bar, the color of a yogurt, the feel of a snack in your hand or even the shape and design of a package.

For example, the choice of clear packaging for the bottom of Liberté‘s new organic yogurt.


The considerations of both shape and texture also probably explains why we love putting Bugles on our fingers, right?


Great taste and nutrition drives product development, of course. But there are many other factors for creating a successful product. In the case of a snack or cereal, it also could be about the crunchiness.

It’s an interesting area to study. So we thought it would be worth exploring for this month’s podcast.

We talked with product developers Jenny Kamerud, Natalie Stoer and Veronica Woodhouse to hear their insight about the connection of the five senses with some of our products, including refrigerated dough, granola bars, soups and yogurt. We also talked with Spence, during his recent visit to our headquarters.


You’ll learn:

-Why it’s hard for the brain to separate the look of a package from the taste of the food

-What chefs are doing to understand how to design interesting food experiences in restaurants

-The multisensory considerations behind the creation of several General Mills products

-How the product developers that we interviewed got started in their careers

It’s easy to listen to our show when you’re on the go. Just listen on any podcast app on your mobile device (search for General Mills) or through iTunes or right here on our blog.

Listen (26 min)

SHOW NOTES – Episode 13: September 28, 2016

Link:  Charles Spence

Video: Professor Charles Spence: “The Perfect Meal”

We publish a new episode of our podcast every month. Search “podcast” in the box at the top of this page for previous shows or look at the right sidebar. If you have an idea for a future episode, we’d love to hear it. Please let us know in the comments below or via email at contact.blog@genmills.com.

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