Humans are a tactile bunch. We love to touch, manipulate, and explore everything around us. Touch and texture are ways that the human brain categorizes, understands, and enjoys the world around us. Of our five senses, touch is perhaps the most critical in how we interpret the world around us. It stands to reason then, that touch can have a profound effect on how our brain interprets the taste and experiences the enjoyment of our food.
Food is a multifaceted sensory experience. The smell of the food wafting through the kitchen. The sounds of the food popping and sizzling in the pan. The colors of the food dancing together on a plate. The actual flavors mixing together on the tongue. These are all critical to the experience and enjoyment of food. However, it is the sense of touch that elevates food to its highest level. The touch and texture of the food as it is lifted from your fork and felt in your mouth can spell the difference between an alright meal to a culinary masterpiece.
It should come as no surprise then that marketing firms employ ‘texture’ words in their advertisements. For years we’ve been inundated with drool-worthy descriptors such as “gooey” cheese, “crunchy” breading, or “creamy” centers, however these phrases were usually relegated to commercials or advertisements only. In 2015, food executives and marketing firms alike have taken to incorporating these words into previously uncharted territory: The names and physical labels.
Harnessing human nature to promote products is not new in the marketing business. Marketing and advertising executives have been employing psychology in commercials and print ads for decades. By including texture words into the menu items, food names, and labeling for the food, consumers are given the full sensory package. Texture words have proven repeatedly in studies to drive desire, magnify enjoyment, and ultimately increase sales in food products. Where the original rule of thumb for product marketing involved a quick, short, and snappy product name, this new texture based way of advertising is taking that rule and standing it on its head. With packaging and titles including words like “crispy”, “warm”, and “smooth”, the end result is an advertisement within a name. The end result? Product descriptions and titles that encourage the consumer to follow their basic instinct of experiencing their food, not just tasting it. Texture, after all, matters.