Neuromarketing empirical approaches and food choice: a systematic review
Consumers’ food choices are often driven by reasons that consumers are not fully aware of. Decision-making about food is influenced by a complex set of emotions, feelings, attitudes, and values that are impossible to assess simply by asking consumers their opinion. Indeed, traditional techniques such as self-reports or interviews allow to measure mainly conscious and rational reactions toward a product or advertising. In the last decades, there is a rapidly growing interest in the multidisciplinary field of the so called “neuromarketing”, which takes advantage of neuroscientific techniques to study consumer behavior. This discipline applies neuroscientific methods and tools that allow to measure consumers’ emotional and spontaneous reactions in a more objective and observable way. The aim of this paper is (a) to describe neuromarketing underlying assumptions, techniques, advantages of this perspective, examining the scientific literature about the use of neuromarketing in food studies, and (b) to suggest best practices to apply this novel approach in the food marketing domain, with a specific focus on not invasive methods. Finally, although the perception of nutritional elements has been already explored, nevertheless health content of labels, the presence of additives, the evaluation of the information conveyed by food packaging are other possible elements of interest in future food neuromarketing research.