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Foodscape Tracking (FT)

Last modified: 27.01.2016

Foodscape Tracking (FT)

The foodscape tracking technology follows the motion pattern of the consumer in the micro foodscapes and can be used to track for instance food choice dynamics around a buffet. It operates in an experimental mode, where sensors are set up in the foodscape where the test persons are expected to make their choice. In the smart phone version, by detecting the signal from the phone, questions can in real time compare to the answer the respondent gives a background questionnaire. It allows a real time ethnographic approach where the consumer is asked in the actual behavioral situation. It can, for example. use to investigate the difference between "saying" and "doing". In a study about secondary school students eating habits during lunch break, we found that a third of the students who responded that they never went outside the school was actually tracked at one of the food stores / fast food places that were included in the study (Koirala, 2015). It should be emphasized that the smart phone version of the FT technology requires informed consent of all parties. The technology comes in a slightly different anonymous  version – the Foodscape Heatmapping. It is based on visual tracking of consumers using thermal cameras are a relatively new method of behavioral analysis. It allows automatic collection of a much larger amount of data quickly, cheaply and objectively compared to manual methods. The technology has so far been used in both open spaces and indoor sports facilities (Gade, 2015). The thermal technology is well suited for analyzing human food choice dynamics since the identity of the people can not be recognized from the thermal images. In addition, the technology is independent of light, which is the weakness of many camera based solutions. In future experiments, this tracking technology will be used to analyze consumers' movements and choices about such.

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