Four eating styles are explained – crunchers, chewers, smooshers and suckers

It’s not just what you eat, but how you eat that’s important, according to a new report, ‘Eating Styles – A Complete Guide to our Unexpressed Love of Food’.

The report from Ingredion looks at research into texture and eating styles* and explores how the physical way consumers eat influences their food preferences and satisfaction levels.

Ingredion has reviewed various pieces of research going back many years. Four clear universal groups had already been identified from earlier independent research – crunchers, chewers, smooshers and suckers. Individuals in each of these categories were found to experience food differently, and therefore to prefer foods with certain textures as these delivered the most enjoyment.

Severine Bensa, European Marketing Manager Textureat Ingredion explains:

“Everyone enjoys their food a little bit differently, in particular how they manipulate food in their mouth, and this affects our satisfaction and enjoyment levels. We have examined these eating styles in more depth, to build greater insights, that show what we eat – our texture preferences and food choices – is influenced by how we eat. And crucially how Ingredion products can help support texture choices.

“We’ve known for years that taste, and food trends, drive consumer purchasing behaviour, but it’s only in the last decade researchers have delved into the influence of the other senses. Many independent studies have found that texture has a huge impact on consumers liking or disliking a product, but we also know consumers find it difficult to articulate texture preferences and specifically can struggle explaining why they like something. This report draws on research over the last 50 years into unexpressed food preferences and subconscious responses, to create insights that Ingredion would like to share with manufacturers to better understand their customers’ texture preferences and ultimately help make product developments more appealing.”

An overview of the four eating styles:

• Crunchers – eat their food forcefully and noisily, and are often fast eaters. Recipes targeted at this group should, in some way, bring some crunch.
• Chewers – can be short or long chewers, food must not break down in the mouth but deliver a long, full chewing sensation.
• Smooshers – process and eat foods slowly, food must be smooth and able to be broken down and held in the mouth for a long time.
• Suckers – focus on extracting all the flavour from a food before chewing, they tend to be slow eaters.

The report shows that eating styles determine enjoyment of a product which in turn impacts consumer choice and buying behaviour. Applying these insights means food products can be developed with texture and sensory attributes that improve their appeal, whether it’s creating desired creaminess or smoothness, or optimising the bite of crispy, crunchy foods.

Severine explains:

“It’s not just about formulation. Interestingly, our consumer eating styles workshops also showed how important it is that any specific texture claims made on the label are delivered in the eating experience. We discovered that if someone is attracted to a texture claim and feels that the eating is consistent with that claim, they will be more likely to repeat buy and stay loyal to the brand.

“However, we also found the opposite was true. Consumers are dissatisfied with products when the label is misleading and the texture isn’t reflected in the eating experience. So if it says extra creamy on the label, manufacturers have to deliver. This means formulation, or reformulation, expertise must be able to fulfil texture attributes, whatever the processing conditions.”

To learn more about the different Eating Styles and see them in action, watch the videos here or download a copy of the full report here,