Effect of Senses When Consuming and Purchasing Food

3183 words (13 pages) Essay in Psychology

23/09/19 Psychology Reference this

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Sensory Evaluation Report   


1. Summary                                                                                                                             i


2.Contents Page                                                                                                                     ii


3.Introduction                                                                                                                      Page 1


4.Methodology                                                                                                                      Page 2


5.Sensory Properties of Food                                                                                              Page 2

5.1 Appearance and Smell                                                                                                 Page 2

5.2 Taste                                                                                                                                Page 3

5.3 Texture                                                                                                                            Page 4



6.External Influences                                                                                                            Page 5


7.Evaluation and Improvements                                                                                          Page 5


8.References        Page 6




In this report, I will be researching how senses are used when it comes to consumers purchasing and eating food. The areas that I will be investigating will be appearance, smell, texture and taste. For the report, a choice of pastry had to be chosen. The pastry that I have decided to investigate is “scones”.For the report, I will be investigating how consumers use their sight to look at the appearance of a product to purchase the product, how the smell and texture and taste also affect a consumer and for what reason they may buy that product.

Other factors that I will also be looking for is to look at scones from Sainsbury’s and compare them to other shops to see the difference between the products from different shops.

What are scones?

Scones are biscuit-like cakes that are made with flour, butter and milk. These may also sometimes be added with fruit. They are frequently folded into round shapes and cut into quarters, which are then baked in the oven. Scones can be either unsweetened or sweet and are normally eaten for breakfast, but at the same time are presented with tea and sold in coffeehouses.


“This Scottish QUICK BREAD is said to have taken its name from the Stone of Destiny (or Scone), the place where Scottish kings were once crowned. The original triangular-shaped scone was made with oats and griddle-baked. Today’s versions are more often flour-based and baked in the oven. They come in various shapes including triangles, rounds, squares and diamonds.” (Project, 2018)

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“The word “scone” according to the Oxford dictionary comes from Middle Dutch schoon(broot) which means beautiful bread. If you’ve ever had a bad scone it is not even close to beautiful, just hard, stone hard if not baked correctly or eaten while fresh.”(Travel Meets Food, 2016)

Anna, the Duchess of Bedford between 1788-1861 is said to have made scones a fashionable ritual. One late evening she was having some tea and scones and since that afternoon she continued to order scones every afternoon and this became an English tradition which is now known as “Afternoon Tea Time”.





Data source


Research for this report included gathering secondary data. Secondary data is data that is done by someone else. These include data that has already been collected, website data, reports etc. For this report, I have taken used secondary data from websites, reports, books, articles, newspapers.

The data that was gathered from these sources was then used to help conduct a research on sensory and how senses affect consumers when they are purchasing products. The research also lets us see how companies use sensory to get consumers to buy their products.



Sensory Properties of Food

When it comes to sensory properties of food they are the most important when it comes to what people choose to eat what they eat. Understanding sensory properties of food and what those properties are they are and how we best measure those properties are basic to understanding food and consumers eating behaviour. Appearance, the texture of the food, smell those are some of the factors that give a consumer the desire to eat or to buy a product. Sensory properties of food are senses that influence people to choose what they eat. “Beyond taste, sensory properties such as smell, sound, appearance and texture influence what we select to eat.” (Lauren R. Hartman, 2018).

Food must taste delicious, however, the mouthfeel and the texture of the food and how the food looks, and smells is also a big factor to the consumer’s overall experience. Judy Whaley says that consumers “They want cleaner labels and exceptional sensory experiences. But ultimately, consumers aren’t willing to give up on great taste.” (Lauren R. Hartman, 2018).

Appearance and Smell

The appearance of the food is what mostly attracts a consumer to want to buy a product for the reason that it shows them the colour of the product, how the product feels, the size of the product or freshness. Smell is the next factor that affects a consumer selecting products. A consumer will look at these two factors when buying an item and from the sight, they will see if the product is something that they will like to try. For a customer when they are buying scones they would like to see the shape of that product, the appearance of that product, ether it has fruits, is it round, is it the right colour, does it look fresh or dry. This is the reason why most of the stores they put the item on display in clear packaging to attract customers to buy that product since they can see what they are buying.

If the food differentiates from what consumers are used to this can lead to consumers being “turned off” and not buying the product. Scones they need to be light, they cannot look burnt and when touched the need to be light and be brown in colour.

When it comes to scones and consumers options on the best scones to buy at this moment, you can see in Figure 1 on the right that it was voted that Tesco has the best scones. When it comes to senses and why they are the best scones experts have said: ‘We loved the unevenness of the rise and the gorgeously cracked sides which added to that home-baked feel. Crumbly in all the right ways, the perfect carrier for a thick dollop of cream. (Blake, 2018). From this comment, you can see that the appearance of the product is a big factor to consumers. Appearance is just one of the sensory properties of food. From figure 1 you can see that Sainburys scones came third and I will be discussing later why this may be.




Another sensory property of food is taste, that may be a combination of saltiness, sweetness and bitterness to make a distinctive flavour of food. Scones they have to taste sweet and be tasty. If the scones look burned and a consumer sees that they are most likely not to buy the product due to the fact that it will leave a bad taste in the mouth and it will not taste right. After a consumer buys a product and the taste of the product is not what they are custom to then they won’t purchase that product again.

Sainsbury’s scones are described to be “Soft and deliciously sweet, these classic all butter scones are perfect for afternoon tea. Packed with plump, juicy sultanas, they’re enriched with Cornish clotted cream and buttermilk for a lovely light texture and delicate creamy flavour.” (Sainsbury’s, 2018). However, customer reviews have the opposite to say regarding the scones. Some customers say that “The quality of this product has deteriorated recently. The last 2 packs have been dry with burnt bottoms! They used to be so good. Still, contain plenty of sultanas but I will be giving them a miss for a while.” (Sainsbury’s, 2018). Another customer said that: “These scones were delicious previously, not now. The shape of the scone has changed, they are not as buttery, sweet & have fewer sultanas. I will NOT be buying these again whether they are on offer or not.” (Sainsbury’s, 2018).

You can see from the comments above that customers are not happy with the appearance, taste and texture of the scones that they purchased. This was due to the bottoms of the scones were also burned and the scones were dry and less buttery and sweet. These are just two comments from two loyal customers that they had and there are more bad comments on Sainsburys sultanas’ scones. You can see from those two comments that sensory of properties is a big deal for customers when they purchase their products. The customers who left the review they said that they have been “turned off” from buying the scones again.

The colour frequently leads customers’ expectations to change regarding the flavour of the product. If the colour or shape changes this can reduce customers from coming back to purchase that product.


The texture of food comes into place when you are tasting the food. Scones when eaten they need to be fluffy and buttery, so the customer when they eat them they will think do they taste fluffy and sweet enough, do they have the right amount of sultanas, or butter or they soft enough. When stores they create their food they have to think of the texture due to the fact that the texture can also impact how the taste of the food is released in the mouth. This is why companies have to test the food to make sure that they get the right amount of ingredients and flavour into the food to make sure that when the customers taste the food it tastes to their satisfaction and gives them the taste in the mouth, meaning that it cannot be too soft or cannot be tasteless, in view of the fact that these factors detract from the flavour of the product. (Loades, 2016)

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