Plenary Speakers

Carlos Gomez Corona, Firmenich SA, France

Carlos Gómez–Corona

Carlos Gómez–Corona is Global Director of Consumer Research at Firmenich. His main responsibilities are to understand the future consumption of proteins, and the perception of natural and sustainable flavors and ingredients. He has conducted research both in the academia and the industry, as well as teaching in the area of sensory and consumer science, collaborating with several research groups worldwide. His publications focus mainly on consumption experience, product perception and representation, and social responsibility. He obtained his master’s degree in Sensory & Consumer Research from the University of Burgundy in France, followed by a PhD in Consumer Research in UAM-Mexico, with collaboration with the Centre des Sciences du Gout and ISA Lille. Carlos was awarded the Rose Marie Pangborn Sensory Science Scholarship in 2014 and is part of the editorial board of Food Research International, and editor at Cogent Business & Management.

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Talk: Sensory and consumer research for good: Our contribution to social responsibility

As Consumer & Sensory Scientists our mission is to understand the consumer, and yet, with our eyes fixed on the market, we have devoted a good part of our time to understanding consumption across the middle and upper classes in society. Our methodologies are validated in Western countries, and we use several languages to conclude that they are universal. We build questionnaires as if everyone can read, and as if everyone can express themselves through a scale. We have a new obsession with the speed of the insights, the automation of responses, and the digitalization of information. If we can pause, just for a minute, we should see an alternative reality. A reality that attracts our attention and that is evident in certain regions of the world. A reality that, by removing the “consumer” label, reveals inequalities, very human inequalities.

However, our consumption dynamics are also very human. And when we look at humans, without our glasses that “average the variables”, we observe a diverse group of people. And in this diversity, we find an additional value: to study consumption for GOOD. The following questions arise: How to study affordable nutrition? How to translate a social problem into an opportunity? How to study consumption in the middle of a pandemic? How to interview vulnerable consumers, and then spend the whole night looking for a solution?

Without even reaching any solution, I propose three specific routes to explore consumer research for good, with a social responsibility approach: 1) A turn towards low-income and vulnerable consumers, 2) A study of food safety with the addition of social inequality variables (e.g. threat of violence, migration and literacy), 3) A focus on inclusion (gender, disability and language).

It is our commitment to be able to do research for the good of the consumers, and for the world in which we live. What are we waiting for?

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