What it means to “Feel Fresh Everyday”

What does it mean when someone states that something tastes or smells “fresh?” Our research has shown that “freshness” is a complex concept that changes from country to country. This complexity makes for a difficult challenge where the food technologist is attempting to capture “freshness.”

In our exploration of “feeling fresh everyday,” international panelists identified five critical freshness areas that should be considered in product development: Cleanliness, Natural, Relaxation, Enjoyment and Vitality. This series of posts will introduce the five areas.


In terms of “Freshness” being a planet, “Cleanliness” was thought to be its atmosphere. It is important to keep in mind that “Cleanliness” is not the same thing as “being clean.” It is an emotion rather than a statement of personal hygiene.

In terms of imagery and from country to country, “Cleanliness” evoked common responses such as the smell of clean sheets or clothes drying on a clothesline. Cleanliness imagery also included crystal blue waters under an Azure sky or “fresh love.”

“Freshness” stemming from “Cleanliness” was often seen as leading to confidence however, here is where divergent paths began to express themselves. In some cultures, “freshness” is fresh breath, but to others it may mean security or re-assurance or even having a good image in a group.

Important differences

As we repeatedly learned from our research, the five elements that represent freshness are not equal from culture to culture. One or two elements usually come to the forefront to represent the freshness emotion. Which countries most closely associated “Cleanliness” with everyday freshness and “Confidence?”  The answers were sometimes unexpected.

In terms of the most positive correlation of “Cleanliness to Confidence” the United States ranked first followed by Mexico, Germany, China and Russia. Countries where “Cleanliness” leading to “Confidence” did not correlate well were France (where it was least important), India, where appearance was more important as leading to “Confidence,” Brazil and Japan.

Looking at counties with the high correlation of everyday freshness as being “Clean,” panelists translated “Cleanliness” into colors, flavors and other elements. In terms of colors, white, blue, silver, green, yellow and shiny were mentioned as being representative of everyday freshness and “Confidence.” Flavors included mint (all variants), lemon, citrus, spicy, fruity and floral. Fragrance preferences echoed flavor preferences. Russians, additionally, linked herbal and cucumber notes to freshness. Panelists believing that the emotion of “Cleanliness” led to everyday freshness and “Confidence,” favored a flavor profile that was intense with bursts of flavor, along with sparkly, and fizzy.

We must again caution that one platform does not fit all. From the research, we could see that label copy describing a “Fresh, Clean and Confident” taste may seem nonsensical to some cultures. Unexpected, intense flavors and colors as opposed to more subtle and subdued product colors may also have an unintended, negative effect.

“Cleanliness” as an emotion leading to “Confidence” is culturally subjective. Pre-launch market testing is crucial.

Stay tuned for parts 2-5 of this series!

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