Pleasure drove 49.6 per cent of food innovation in Europe in 2009 – up 2.9 per cent on the year before, said the European food trade association.
The research pinpointed the search for greater sophistication and new flavours as key aspects of the work on pleasure.
Meanwhile, health remained an important area of focus for food scientists - taking a 23.5 per cent share of innovation work while ethics trailed at the bottom of the trend list at 2.6 per cent.
In terms of food categories, dairy products led the way, despite a slight decline on last year, while frozen products and soft drinks followed in second and third place respectively.
R&D spending in EU trails rivals
As well as innovation trends, the CIAA report - “Data & trends of the European Food and Drink Industry 2010” - looked at spending on R&D.
The report said that R&D spending in the EU held up in the recession but remains low compared to other regions.
“The food and drink industry’s R&D expenditure (R&D investment as a percentage of output) in EU has been the lowest when compared to the majority of developed countries.
“The R&D expenditure levels are higher and continue to increase in Japan, USA, Australia and South Korea, while the EU has experienced a relative stagnation.”
Other aspects of the report will be explored on FoodNavigator.com next week.