Getting started with virtual reality for sensory and consumer science: Current practices and future perspectives.
Abstract While virtual reality (VR) has become increasingly popular in food-related research, there has been a lack of clarity, precision, and guidelines regarding what exactly constitutes a virtual reality study, and the options available to the researcher for designing and implementing it. This review provides a practical guide for sensory and consumer scientists interested in exploring the emerging opportunities offered by VR. We take a deep dive into the components that make up a VR study, including hardware, software, and response measurement methods, all the while being grounded in immersion and presence theory. We then review how these building blocks are put together to create two major categories of research scenarios: product selection, which can be entirely created in VR, and food evaluation, which involve tasting products in real life. For each category, we review current literature with an eye on experiment design, and then highlight future avenues and technical development opportunities within sensory and consumer research. Finally, we evaluate limitations and ethical issues in VR food research, and offer future perspectives above and beyond ensuring ecological validity in product testing.