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Comparing a standardized to a product-specific emoji list for evaluating food products by children

Schouteten, Joachim J., Verwaeren, Jan, Gellynck, Xavier, Almli, Valérie L.
Food quality and preference 2019 v.72 pp. 86-97
biscuits, children, correspondence analysis, variance
There is a growing interest in the emotional associations of children to food products in order to better understand their preferences. Recently, emoji were suggested as a novel way to assess these emotional associations. In this study, 172 children aged 8–11 years evaluated the emotional profile of five biscuits in a check-all-that-apply task, where half of the subjects (n = 87) evaluated the applicability of 38 emoji obtained from a standardized emoji list, while the other half (n = 85) worked with 20 emoji from a product-specific emoji list. A similar average number of emoji were used by the participants for the emotional profiling of the samples in both approaches. Results showed that the product-specific emoji list was better able to discriminate between product samples compared to the standardized emoji list. Several emoji were even discriminating between similarly liked samples when using a product-specific emoji list, while only one emoji was able to discriminate between equally-liked samples when using a standardized emoji list. Both approaches produced similar emotional spaces and product configurations, although one needs to consider that the first dimension of the correspondence analysis for the product-specific emoji list explained over 90% of the total variance against 60% for the standardized list. While more research is recommended, this study indicates that a product-specific emoji list could facilitate the emotional product discrimination by children.