Currently almost 90% of the new food products that are launched disappear from the market within one year. One of the main reasons for this high failure rate is the underestimation of the role that situational factors play in food choice. To enable a better prediction of endurable success of new food and drink items in the market, observation of consumers in specific situations is indispensable. This conclusion has led to the design and construction of a highly advanced facility for research on food-related behavior in an indoor setting: the ‘Restaurant of the Future’ in Wageningen, The Netherlands. The Resaurant is available for contract research.
The Restaurant of the Future is a unique environment in which scientists and marketeers can observe restaurant frequenters in conditioned situations for prolonged periods of time with the help of state-of-the-art observation and sensory technology. This research can include behavior, food choice, design and layout, the influence on buying and eating behavior of lighting, presentation, traffic flow, taste, packaging, preparation, and countless other aspects involving out of home eating and drinking. The Restaurant of the Future comprises two parts:
- Company restaurant - The company restaurant is open to the general public, on the condition that all visitors register. By registering, the visitor declares having no objection to being under close observation by cameras. Camera set-up can be adjusted to satisfy nearly any research requirements. Even environmental aspects such as color and lighting can be manipulated for research purposes.
- Sensory consumer research lab - The sensory consumer research lab can be used by businesses to assess their products - under various circumstances - for smell, color, and taste. This lab contains four different parts: an innovation lab, for testing food innovations, a sensory lab, for panel research, mood rooms, for testing environmental influences on eating and drinking behavior, and a state-of-the-art psychophysical lab.
The Restaurant of the Future is a cooperative project of scientists from Wageningen University, the catering company Sodexo, professional kitchen supplier Kampri Group, and Noldus. A unique blend which will ensure unique results! Noldus has provided the Restaurant of the Future with the latest computer and video technologies, including The Observer XT for visualization and analysis of consumer behavior, cameras, PC’s, and microphones. Noldus also took care of the complete on-site installation and training of the researchers who are conducting the consumer behavior investigations. Furthermore, Noldus has committed itself to ongoing research on novel tools for consumer behavior studies, which will involve testing of prototypes and validation studies. The Restaurant of the Future demonstrates how Noldus hardware and software tools can be put to optimal use for the study of consumer behavior.
This research lab is also available for research by third parties. Manufacturers are invited to involve the Restaurant of the Future as part of their product development. We offer opportunities for field testing new foods, testing of new ovens, launching new preparation methods, investigating the effects of changes in preparation modes, implementing cashless payment systems, judging access control systems on their merits, and many more. Businesses can draw on the Restaurant of the Future for prototype testing and assistance with the implementation of new techniques of food preparation, presentation, and meal serving systems. In an increasingly complex society, businesses find it harder to launch product innovations or entirely new products. The restaurant of the Future offers the ultimate opportunity for both larger and smaller companies to take a validated step towards the market. We are pleased to invite you to visit and take a guided tour of the facility, including demonstrations of the data collection and analysis systems.
- He, W.; Boesveldt, S.; Graaf, de, C.; Wijk, de, R.A. (2014). Dynamics of autonomic nervous system responses and facial expressions to oders. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00110.
- Herpen van, E.; van Trijp, H.; Kuipers, T. (2005).The influence of assortment organization on product comparisons and choice. Proceedings of Measuring Behavior 2005, 5th International Conference on Methods and Techniques in Behavioral Research (Wageningen, The Netherlands, 30 August - 2 September 2005), pp. 595-596.
- Poelman, A.A.M.; Glorie, C.; Mojet, J. (2005).Observation of food choice in catering before and after introduction of organic cheese and meat slices. Proceedings of Measuring Behavior 2005, 5th International Conference on Methods and Techniques in Behavioral Research (Wageningen, The Netherlands, 30 August - 2 September 2005), pp. 561-562.
- Wijk, de, R.A.; Kooijman, V.; Verhoeven, R.; Holthuyzen, N.; Graaf, de, C. (2012). Autonomic nervous system responses on and facial expressions ot the sight, smell, and taste of liked and disliked foods. Food Quality and Preference, 26 (2), 196-203.
- Zeinstra, G.G.; Koelen, M.A., Colindres, D.; Kok, F.J.; Graag, C. de (2009). Facial expressions in school-aged children are a good indicator of 'dislikes', but not of 'likes'. Food quality and preference, 20, pp.620-624.
(Photo courtesy of the Restaurant of the Future, The Netherlands, http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/Expertise-Services/Facilities/Restaurant-of-the-Future-4.htm).