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Howard Gene Schutz
In Memoriam

Howard Gene Schutz

Professor of Consumer Science, Emeritus

UC Davis

It is with great sadness that Food Quality and Preference1 marks the passing of Dr. Howard G. Schutz, Emeritus Professor of Consumer Sciences at the University of California, Davis, who died on 7 May 2017 at age 89. Dr. Schutz was a pioneer in the field of sensory and consumer sciences, making significant contributions to the field in a career that lasted over 65 years.

Dr. Schutz was born in Chicago, IL (USA) in 1928 and received his B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1950 and his M.S. and Ph.D in experimental psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1953/1955. He began his career in sensory and consumer science in 1951 when he joined the staff of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Food and Container Institute (QMFCI) in Chicago, which was then headed by Dr. David Peryam. Dr. Schutz worked there for several years as a research psychologist and Chief of the Psychophysiology Section. In 1957 he left QMFCI to go to the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, OH (USA), where he was Senior Psychologist and Head of the Behavioral Sciences Group. Dr. Schutz then joined Hunt-Wesson in 1962 to head their sensory evaluation department, later becoming an Associate Director of R & D and Manager of New Product Exploration. In 1970, Dr. Schutz joined the faculty of the University of California at Davis as Professor of Consumer Sciences until his retirement in 1993, whereupon he became an Emeritus Professor and served as Special Assistant to the Dean of University Extension. During the 25 years after formal retirement, Dr. Schutz served as a consultant to industry and government, including as a Senior Advisor to Tragon Corporation, working with Herbert Stone and Joel L. Sidel. He also served as invited visiting scientist and guest lecturer at prestigious international universities and laboratories, including the Institute of Food Research in Reading, UK, the Danish Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen, the Norwegian Food Research Institute in Aas, Norway, the University of Helsinki (Finland), the Swedish Food Research Institute in Stockholm, and the Norwegian Consumer Research Institute in Lysaker, Norway. In addition, Dr. Schutz spent 20 years after retirement working during the summers as a consultant and collaborator at the U.S. Army Natick RD & E Center in Natick, MA (USA).

Dr. Schutz’s research spanned a wide range of areas in sensory and consumer sciences, beginning with pioneering research he conducted at the QMFCI on preference methodology, food acceptance, food monotony, appetite and taste sensitivity. This work was punctuated by his Ph.D. thesis on “Differential Sensitivity in Gustation” in 1955. In subsequent research at QMFCI, he co-authored numerous papers on taste and preference methodology with David Peryam, Frank Pilgrim, and Joseph Kamenetsky (Kamen), who were all co-workers at the laboratory. From 1960 to 1976, Dr. Schutz published numerous papers on the sensory analysis and consumer acceptance of foods and on attitudinal elements of consumer behavior toward foods. In 1965, he introduced the Food Action Scale, which is a 9-pt rating scale designed to incorporate the element of desired frequency of consumption of a food along with traditional affective measures. In 1976, he began research on the topic of food use classification or “situational appropriateness,” as it later came to be called, which was one of the best known areas of Dr. Schutz’s research. His first paper on this topic (Schutz, Rucker and Russell, Food and food-use classification systems, Food Technology, 1975, 50–64) is still one of the most highly cited of his papers.

In the years that followed, Dr. Schutz continued the development of his appropriateness construct, expanded his research on attitudes to include multidimensional approaches to the topic and began work on consumer aspects of community development, policy planning, quality of life, satisfaction, nutritional aspects of healthy eating, attitudes toward clothing and textiles, and factors contributing to food quality. By 1993, when Dr. Schutz retired from UC-Davis, his research interests had turned toward the role of consumer attitudes in the acceptance of healthy foods, supplements, and novel food processes, e.g. food irradiation.

In 1999, following his official retirement, Dr. Schutz worked in the UC-Davis Extension School, when it began to offer online programs through their Distance Learning Center. Here again, he was on the forefront of innovation with his vision to create a University level sensory science and consumer testing program for working professionals around the world. He recruited two of us (Jean-Xavier Guinard and Rebecca Bleibaum), his former UC-Davis students, and working together, the Applied Sensory Science and Consumer Testing Certificate Program was created and first offered in 2001. Dr. Schutz helped to update this program on a yearly basis through 2014, and he acted as a mentor for every student enrolled in the program since its inception until very recently. The program now counts over 600 alumni worldwide.

With his retirement from UC-Davis, Dr. Schutz began a long-standing collaboration at the U.S. Army Natick RD & E Center in Natick, MA, which was the Army laboratory to which the former program of research at QMFCI had transferred in 1963. It was here, that in the later stages of his career, Dr. Schutz returned to the themes that had first inspired him when he began his career – food preference, food acceptance, and consumer attitudes toward food. However, he also expanded his research into other areas, such as consumer expectations, psychophysical scaling, satiety measurement, and the sensory and comfort evaluation of fabrics and clothing.

During his career, Dr. Schutz won numerous awards, including being named a Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Institute of Food Technologists, where he was a founding member and first Chairman of the Sensory Evaluation Division. Dr. Schutz was also a Charter member of Committee E-18 on Sensory Evaluation for the Society for Testing and Materials and was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Statistical Association, the Human Factors Society, the Psychonomic Society, the American Marketing Association, the Association for Consumer Research, the Society of Nutrition Education, the American Institute of Nutrition, and the American Association of Public Opinion Research. For many years, Dr. Schutz was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences Man-Machine Advisory Panel. At various points during his career, he also served as a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Nutrition Education, Chemical Senses and Flavor, Appetite, and Food Quality and Preference and was the recipient of the prestigious David R. Peryam Award from Committee E-18 of ASTM, which designated him as a Pioneer in Sensory Evaluation. Dr. Schutz also was the recipient of the Sensory Achievement Award from the Sensory and Consumer Science Division of IFT, received the University Medal at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and was honored with the UC Davis Extension Outstanding Service Award for his contributions and dedication to the University’s continuing education program.

Dr. Schutz was a highly creative and energetic scientist who collaborated with a broad range of people in different disciplines. He was a true pioneer of sensory and consumer science and contributed extensively through his publications, his active engagements and his highly engaging discussions at scientific society meetings, e.g. the Annual Meetings of IFT, the Rose Marie Pangborn Sensory Science Symposia, and meetings of the Society of Sensory Professionals. His wit, his affable nature, and his love of research were all hallmarks of his life. He will be missed dearly by family, friends, colleagues, and by the readers and editorial staff of Food Quality and Preference.


Howard Schutz was a dedicated teacher, mentor, and friend, always willing to share his thoughts on sensory and consumer research. He initiated numerous courses in consumer research for undergraduate students with practical applications and inspired graduate students through dialogue along with innovative and creative suggestions to study behavior and perception. Even after retirement Howard continued to actively offer his research experience through service on the thesis committee of Master and Ph.D. students. Further, he provided financial support for graduate students studying sensory and consumer sciences through yearly scholarships.

Christine M. Bruhn
Rebecca Bleibaum
Jean-Xavier Guinard


1The first part of this memorial was reprinted with permission from Food Quality and Preference.
Cardello, A.V., Guinard, J.X., & Bleibaum, R.N. (2017). In Memoriam: Howard Gene Schutz. Food Quality and Preference, v 62, pp. 377-378. (