Drinking a juice in a virtual bar: the use of fully immersive virtual reality techniques in product testing

August 21, 2017

L. Dreyfuss, K. Guillamet, C. Quinton, BIOFORTIS, France.



The impact of context on product perception and evaluation has largely been demonstrated in the past years. Context can be considered in a very different way from one author to another: it represents the physical elements surrounding consumption, i.e. location ambience for some authors (Bell et al., 1994; Stroebele & De Castro, 2004; Bangcuyo et al., 2015), it is related to social interactions during consumption for others (Ellison, 2014), or to the elements of product presentation (Piqueras-Fiszman, 2012) or even to the information displayed on labels or packaging (Fernqvist & Ekelund, 2014).

The present study investigates the ecological validity of orange juice consumption in a totally immersive environment thanks to virtual reality. The test was performed on three orange juices from the French market specifically chosen from a previous study led in a sensory lab as being appreciated at different levels. Sixty respondents, regular consumers of orange juices in bars and restaurants, were asked to test and evaluate the three products in a virtual bar thanks to a unique technology of mixed reality. Through synchronization between real and virtual worlds they were able to see the glass of orange juice they were actually grasping and then were asked to drink it and to answer a virtual questionnaire also presented in the virtual environment.

Contrary to sensory lab results, the three orange juices were not discriminated on their average overall liking level. The satisfaction level towards their sweet and sour taste was very close as well as their natural and refreshing aspects. Besides the virtual experience was much appreciated and considered as innovative, playful and realistic.

Results will be discussed regarding differences between sensory lab and virtual world highlighting advantages and constraints of such an innovative tool.


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As part of Mérieux NutriSciences, Biofortis supports the food and health industries by conducting research projects with a unique nutrition and analytical service. A one-stop shop CRO offering innovative services including clinical assessments, microbiota-related research, sensory evaluation and consumer studies.


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