Date of Graduation

12-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Food Science (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Food Science

Advisor

Han-Seok Seo

Committee Member

Suzanne Jervis

Second Committee Member

Edward E. Gbur

Keywords

360-degree video, consumer perception, food acceptance, Immersive technology, virtual reality

Abstract

Rapid advancement of immersive technologies is paving the way toward a new era in sensory and consumer science by enabling consumers to experience tasting of food samples in different environments, thus generating more realistic perception. However, little attention has been paid to developing a standardized and optimized methodology for conducting such sensory testing in an immersive environment. A variety of factors related to sensory testing in an immersive environment may significantly modulate consumer perception and acceptance of foods. Therefore, this thesis study aimed to optimize protocols related to sensory testing using immersive technology. In this thesis study, participants were asked to evaluate food samples served while viewing a 360-degree immersive video of a bakery shop or restaurant shown in a Virtual Reality (VR) headset. More specifically, in Study 1, participants were asked to evaluate food samples as a function of the type of questionnaires with respect to timing of the ballot presentation (i.e., during or after tasting). In Study 2, participants were asked to evaluate beverage samples in the presence (or absence) of other people in the immersive conditions. Results of both studies showed that participants preferred VR conditions where they either gave their responses during VR condition or had other people presenting the immersive environment. Also, these VR conditions had significant impacts on their immersive feeling, attention level, matching of the sample, consumption experience, and their willingness to consume the sample again. In conclusion, outcomes of the thesis study provide significant insights into several key environmental elements influencing consumer perception in immersive environments, which can be utilized for optimizing the methodology of conducting sensory testing using immersive technologies.

Available for download on Wednesday, January 25, 2023

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