About MAPP

What we are doing

The MAPP Centre does research that generates insight into customer behaviour in the area of food and drink, and to analyze the implications of such insight for industry and public policy.

For industry, insight into customer behaviour is a major input in market-oriented product development, which is widely accepted to be a cornerstone in attempts to attain and sustain future competitiveness, and it is also a decisive ingredient in the development and implementation of sustainable business strategies and corresponding competence development.

For public policy, insight into the determinants of food choice and consumption habits is an important basis for the development of policies that address public concerns in the areas of food choice, health and nutrition, and sustainability.

Our main focus

MAPP’s core research area is consumer behaviour with regard to food and drink, embedded in a value chain perspective. MAPP therefore also does research on buyer behaviour of retailers and food producers, and on how actors in the food chain cooperate in creating value for the consumer. This core research area is complemented by research that deals with the implications of insight into consumer behaviour for industry and for public policy.

MAPP is making great efforts to have a diversity of methodological approaches, where classical survey and interview techniques are supplemented by observational methods and non-verbal methods like eye-tracking and reaction time measures.

Our approach

MAPP is rooted in the marketing discipline and is therefore part of the Department of Management at Aarhus BSS. We have an interdisciplinary approach, however, and contribute widely both with other social sciences like agricultural economics, psychology and sensory science.

Most of our research is done in cooperation with others – companies, trade associations, researchers in adjacent areas nationally and internationally, and researchers in non-adjacent areas, mainly within food technology and agricultural production. 

MAPP’s work has over the years had a tremendous impact on both fields, with researchers in both agricultural economics and sensory analysis adopting many of the methods and concepts that MAPP has been developing.

Our history

MAPP started in 1991 as a ‘framework programme’ under the first Danish research and development program for the food sector (Føtek I). It was meant as a novel way of integrating the social sciences into food research. Until then, the two major streams of social science work with regard to food were agricultural economics, with an emphasis on volume and price setting of commodities and how they are affected by agricultural policy, and the branch of food science working with sensory analysis, with an emphasis on how aspects of the physical product affect sensory perception and consumer liking.

It became quickly obvious that MAPP, with its marketing-rooted approach, filled an important gap in analysing how people react to food, since neither the traditional approaches in agricultural economics nor in sensory science could adequately deal with food products that were highly differentiated and where sensory properties and a host of other parameters interact in determining overall perception and liking.

Making our work known

Dissemination of research results, both to academia and to practitioners in the food area, is a focus area for MAPP.

Dissemination to academia is mainly by publications in renowned international refereed journals, where MAPP tries to seek out journals with high impact and take into account MAPP’s interdisciplinary orientation.

Dissemination to practitioners is by seminars, conferences, and cooperation during the research process. The high priority which MAPP gives to dissemination is expressed by all staff members’ willingness to give lectures and seminars, and to participate in consortia aimed at knowledge transfer and research implementation.