In September, British Unilever-owned savoury spread brand Marmite launched the Marmite Gene Project in collaboration with London-based genetics centre DNAFit – seeking to establish once and for all whether consumers ‘love’ or ‘hate’ the salty product.
As part of the study, 260 adults were asked to taste a 2g serving of Marmite on their tongue for 10 seconds and then fill out a questionnaire pertaining to their taste experience.
In addition to this, DNA-testing kits were used to analyse the level of nucleotide polymorphisms (a DNA sequence variation) that each tester possessed in order to ascertain the likelihood of them enjoying salty foods like Marmite.
Finally, the campaign also included a smartphone app with a facial-recognition tech feature (based on Microsoft's Emotion API software) that could detect whether the consumer was happy, sad, angry or surprised after consuming the spread.
This project reflects a wider movement towards gene technology in the food space – an area that is mostly being explored to optimise health and create personalised diet plans. For more research into this domain, see New Food Covetables and Intelligent Eating.
Additionally, for further examples of brands using facial-recognition tech and augmented reality as part of their marketing and innovation strategies, read Rimmel: Copycat Cosmetics AR App, Cashless Transactions: Pay by Face and Vidal Sassoon's Try-Before-You-Dye AR App.