At the heart of each project, a question of public or private interest

The food transition is one of the ways in which the ecological transition is taking place, and involves profound and lasting changes to our consumption habits and contemporary food environments. Added to this green revolution is a major technological revolution, that of artificial intelligence, whose influence on the world of food is as much expected as feared. Those involved in public health, catering and industry need to get to grips with these profound upheavals, which affect consumers and food professionals alike.

The team at the Institut Lyfe Research Centre is working with the various players in the food and health sectors to meet these contemporary challenges and offer solutions based on scientific evidence.


Collaborative research projects, carried out by researchers from different disciplines and specialities at the Research Centre, help to:
i) understand the decision-making mechanisms underlying contemporary eating behaviour,
ii) identify the acceptability factors (psychological, cultural, etc.) for new foods or eating practices,
iii) measure the congruence between marketing promises and actual consumer experience,
iv) enable different populations to enjoy healthy, sustainable and tasty food.

The results of the various projects are published in prestigious peer-reviewed international journals and presented at world-renowned scientific conferences. The Centre's team is also expert at translating these results into deliverables that can be put to use in business: proposing reliable target market segmentation/consumer insight, testing the penetrability/acceptability of a product innovation, transferring design thinking/creativity methods, formulating recommendations/tools to support change, identifying societal developments.

Research in Social Sciences
Research in Cognitive Science
Research in Nutrition and Eating Behaviour

1. Research in Social Sciences

The social science research group is interested in the role of social and cultural dimensions in contemporary food transitions towards food models that are more respectful of health, the environment, producers and animal welfare. The group's work focuses on four main themes:

1- Acceptability of dietary change
The need to change eating habits necessarily involves diversifying the products consumed, and therefore introducing or rediscovering new products. On the one hand, this raises the question of cultural acceptability for consumers: how can healthier, more responsible products be integrated into a given cultural context? How can we encourage the evolution of practices that are strongly integrated into social routines? On the other hand, the position of professionals in the food sector, particularly in the catering industry, is also an important angle: how do restaurant owners position themselves with regard to sustainability issues? What role can they play, both in terms of their expertise and their media impact?

2- Production, transmission and reception of knowledge about food transitions
The importance of the issues involved in changing food models generates a multitude of information and discourse in society, which is appropriated, disseminated and mobilised according to various methods and interests. In this context, what role does - and should - scientific knowledge play? What links should there be with civil society, and what place should there be for the participatory dimension? How can we inform and raise awareness among the general public without adding to the confusion or reinforcing the circulation of unreliable information? What role can alternative forms, particularly artistic ones, play in these exchanges?

3- Patrimoines alimentaires et transitions
L’augmentation de l’intérêt patrimonial pour l’alimentation s’observe notamment dans le nombre important de pratiques et savoirs liés à l’alimentation inscrits depuis 2010 sur les listes du patrimoine culturel immatériel de l’UNESCO. Toutefois, de même que la notion de patrimoine revêt des définitions variables, les enjeux autour de ces patrimoines alimentaires sont divers, et peuvent aussi bien servir les enjeux de durabilité que se trouver en tension. Comment se construisent les projets patrimoniaux ? Quels jeux d’acteurs révèlent-ils ? Quelle place peuvent-ils jouer dans les transitions alimentaires ?

4- Changing social relationships around food
Food is often presented as a place for sharing and exchanging, whether through the sharing of the meal itself (commensality) or the associated activities: cooking, provisioning, etc. It is thus seen as having the virtues of creating ‘social links’ and combating ‘isolation’. Conversely, certain discourses (scientific, media or institutional) sometimes underline the impression that these links are being broken through practices that are more individualised. However, the nature of the links created is highly variable, and these discourses are often more a matter of impression than knowledge. A better understanding of the nature of these links is needed to clarify the conditions under which the social relationships that develop around food can contribute to healthier and more sustainable practices.

The research mobilizes mainly qualitative and comparative approaches, through disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, social psychology or geography. Quantitative approaches can also be used to work on a broader scale.

2. Research in Cognitive Science 

The Cognition and Food Research Group studies the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying mental representations of food, flavours and eating behaviour. Our research interests cover the perception of the sensory properties of food and drink, eating behaviours and the decision-making mechanisms that underlie them.

Our research group is interdisciplinary and addresses theoretically grounded research questions using robust methodologies from developmental and cognitive psychology, and cognitive and computational neuroscience. We study these questions in children and adults, in sensory and culinary experts, and in patients with eating disorders and sensory deficits.

To achieve a truly multidisciplinary approach to food cognition, we focus our research on four fundamental interconnected domains: multisensory perception, conceptual knowledge, learning and memory, and gestures and behaviour.

Group leader: Jérémie Lafraire
Members: Anne-Lise Saive, Carol Coricelli, Damien Foinant, Juliette Greco, Matteo GandoliniLaura Gagliardi, Sabrina Boulkour, Adoracion Guzman, Fateme Aliyari, Maxime Barbier

3. Research in Nutrition and Eating Behaviour

The Nutrition and Eating Behaviour Group
investigates the key factors underlying perceptions and food preferences, appetite and food intake across different cultures and life stages.

Our research activities are focused in three key areas:
- Exploring the hedonic and physiological aspects of food intake in relation to weight status.
- Modulating the sensory and nutrition profile of meals considering interindividual differences in relation to health
- Strategies to encourage healthy eating by balancing meal enjoyment and nourishment

Our research work is using a multidisciplinary approach, and a diversity of observational and interventional methods to move forward the knowledge on the impact of the nutritional and sensorial properties of meals on optimising food intake. Our ambition is that this work can contribute to better stratification and characterisation of individuals for the development of personalised dietary interventions to ultimately improve health in its entirety and complexity.

A multi-disciplinary vision of research is developed through the projects, and also through activities of knowledge transfer led at the Research Center: scientific publications, research seminars, international symposiums.

Research & Innovation Center - Institut Lyfe

Château du Vivier - Ecully - France
Tel: +33 (0)4 72 18 02 20


Raphaëlle Mouillefarine
Partnerships Development
Send an email
+33 (0)4 26 20 97 63

Follow us