5 May 2022
What influence has where we eat on our bodily response?
As part of the LABe Digital Gastronomy Lab, LABe Restaurant has tested the Galvanic Rings, devices connected via Bluetooth to a computer that measure the surface response of our fingers when consuming food. In this case, the study was a beer tasting.
In today’s food landscape, foods and beverages undergo rigorous sensory and consumer analysis before they are marketed. Undoubtedly, food plays an important role in how we feel, so studying the factors that affect consumer perception helps us to understand the decisions that lead us to choose the food or drink.
There are a multitude of variables that determine these choices, whether they are human characteristics such as genetics or physiological state at the time, or the foods or beverages themselves. The place of ingestion may also be a determining factor because most tests are conducted in controlled environments, places that don’t resemble the type of environment in which people usually consume.
Therefore, this study of body response variation with Galvanic Rings starts from the premise that the implicit response associated with changes in skin conductance and cardiovascular activity is related to the explicit response (acceptance and emotional response) and the context, both controlled (tasting room) and real (restaurant).
For this test, these variables were analysed in a total of five beers, each characterised by different sensory properties and belonging to a particular beer style. So to measure the body response, the rings were placed on the index and middle fingers of the non-dominant hand of each participant. Once the device was calibrated, the data were recorded for one minute.
Although emotional activation was not affected by the context, for some beers, significant differences were detected between acceptance and emotional balance between the tasting room and the restaurant, with the real context receiving better scores. This may be due to the social component and the eating-out style of the Spanish population.
The development of the project and the testing in the real environment of the restaurant follows the criteria of Eneko Larrañaga, together with the doctor and researcher of the Sensory Analysis area of BCC Innovation Laura Vázquez and within the framework of his Master’s Thesis in Gastronomic Sciences at the Basque Culinary Center.