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Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr John Grigor BSc(Hons) Food Technology (Reading University) 1987; PhD (Reading University) 1990. 

I completed my PhD at Reading University in 1990 in sweet taste and have subsequently been researching and consulting in consumer and sensory science for over twenty years.

My research is focused on understanding eating behaviour and the impact that physiological, psychological and contextual factors have on the way we eat and the choices we make.  For example, what role does taste play in metabolic health? What about dynamic sensory perception? Understanding this better will enable us to develop innovative and healthy food products.

I’m currently involved in experimental work to measure the hedonic responses over the eating process by assessing facial expressions through electromyography. 

I also work directly with food businesses to help them innovate, improve and export into other markets which often involves working with consumer and sensory scientists in other countries to understand cross-cultural influences on food choice.

I have appeared on television and radio on several occasions as a sensory expert and have been involved in judging the New Zealand New Food Product Awards.


My main teaching areas are sensory science, food choice  and food new product development.

Research interests

My research is to try and understand the interplay between physiological, psychological and contextual factors in explaining eating behaviour and to use this information to support the development of innovative healthy food products.

Through this overarching area of interest a number of related lines of research have been undertaken:

a) Research addressing how consumers conceptualise healthy eating practices appears to have more recently made a paradigmatic shift towards qualitative research methods.  Use of open-ended questioning and inductive, interpretive methods of enquiry to generate in-depth, contextually-derived information has been applied to investigate understandings about functional foods from older adult groups, adolescents and dieticians in different countries. 

b) Same time measures of the dynamic sensory response, oral processing behaviour and time dependent acceptability of solid and semi-solid foods. This experimental work is now being expanded to investigate how to measure the hedonic responses (of novel food containing bioactive ingredients) over the eating process by measuring muscle activity associated with facial expressions using electromyography. Combining preference measures with sensory and oral processing data is a new and exciting research area because it enables the measurement of emotional processes without interrupting oral processing. 

c) Investigating best practices for food businesses wanting to engage in functional food product development. This has included significant interaction in both the New Zealand and Singapore food industries incorporating a mixed methods approach.

d) Understanding the effect of physiological stresses on sensory evaluation e.g. via exercise, satiety and diet . This includes investigations into oral fat perception  and the corresponding endocrine response.



PhD Co-supervisor for Steven Muir - The application of sensory and consumer science to help inform decision making in potato breeding. Funded by Interface Food and Drink. 

PhD Co-supervisor  for Dayna McCormick – Ministry of Business Innovation and Enterprise  funded research in collaboration with Heilala Foods looking at effects of processing on vanilla flavour. Start date 2013 (Massey University, NZ)



2016. MTech:: Kee Wen Jia. Effect of panel type and ethnicity on apples in Singapore using TDS. Funded by NZ Governement.

2017 PhD: Bei Li - Novel hedonic measures of food.   (Massey University, NZ), vivia successfully completed.

2015 PhD: Hong Yan.  Oral processing of foods. . Riddet Institute funded through Centre of Research Excellence funding. (Massey University, NZ.

2014: PhD:  Rao Sanullah Khan . Motivation and selection of functional food ingredients (Massey University).  

2014: PhD:  Jean Ne Cheong.  Relating sensory perception to chewing dynamics (Massey University).

2012: MTech:  Wenjing Li: Investigating taste sensitivity and hormonal regulation (Massey University).

2002 PhD: Donglin Zhang, Study on Enzymatic Browning of Litchi Pericarp and Minimally Processed lettuce and its Control During Post-Harvest Storage,. (University of Lincolnshire and Humberside).

2001 PhD: Abdullah Oskuz,, Quality Indices of Rainbow Trout and Atlantic Mackerel: A Comparative Study, University of Lincolnshire and Humberside (University of Lincolnshore and Humberside).


2016-2017. Sensory profiling chcocolate from the Scottish Chocolatiers: discovering the point of difference through trained panels. Interface Food and Drink, Scotland, Value=£15,000, Principal Investigator.

2016-2018 To Develop and Implement a Systematic Innovative New Product Development Plan for Mackies of Scotland, KTP
Value= £122,000, Principal Investigator.

2015-2016 . Sensory, consumer and instrumental analysis of trout . Innovation Competition; Interface Food and Drink, Scotland, Value= £50,000, Principal Investigator. 

2014-2016. Health Asian Food Choice and NZ Inc. Ministry of Business Industry and Employment (New Zealand),   Massey University , Value=$600,000NZD, Principal Investigator. 

2008-2014: Future Market Directions. Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) funding, New Zealand  Platform 4: Project 3,  Value =  $240,000 (project 3 value only)  NZD,  Associate Investigator for CoRE, Lead Scientist for Platform 4: Project 3 activities.

2011-2013 Exploring taste perception and biomarkers of health for food innovation. MURF Grant, value $38,000NZD, Principal Investigator

In addition:

2009 -2017 Various consumer and NPD consultancy projects  value approx.  £40,000 Principal Investigator



Appointed as an Associate Investigator (7th December 2010) for the Riddet Institute to support Platform 4 Centre of Research Excellence activities (Massey University, New Zealand).

PhD External  examiner  

September 9th 2010: Otago University PhD. Title: Studies to improve consumer hedonic measures: a comparison of hedonic measurement techniques and the development of a measure to evoke consumption contexts in a laboratory setting.,

August 4th 2009: Auckland University PhD . Title: Investigation of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc wines.

July 2010:July 2012: Southern Cross University PhD. 

May 2013 University of Otago PhD. 

Reviewer for: 

Journal of Food Quality and Preference, Journal of Food Science, International Journal of Food Science and Technology,

Scientific Review Panel 

4th International Consumer Research Conference (24th - 26th June, 2009). 

Fonterra's Food Materials Science Strategic Focus Day (September 2011)

Zespri's Taste Programme Review Day  (June 2014)

Radio and Television Invites

Invited as an expert on sensory evaluation to be filmed on a new television programme "Use as Directed". TVNZ7 (20th June 2009).

Grigor, J., Foster, K., and Cannon, P. Science of Eating (14th March 2013) Our Changing World Radio New Zealand, National. 

Judging at National  Food Awards: 

 Invited as one of the twelve judges for the New Zealand New Food Product Awards (October 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013). Assess the new product development expertise of companies who presented products.

Other Invites:

Requested to chair the sensory science session at the annual New Zealand Food Science and Technology conference in June 2010. 

Invited as a speaker at the one day symposium celebrating  50 years Food Technology at Massey University.  

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water


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