Food Quality and Preference

Published by Elsevier BV

Print ISSN: 0950-3293


Individual differences in the conceptualization of food across eating contexts
  • Article

February 2008


52 Reads

Individual differences in food-related knowledge structures were explored by applying schema theory to examine the categories 42 adults used to classify foods across four eating contexts. Food card-sort labels were organized into 12 categories, category salience for each person was evaluated, and cluster analysis was used to identify clusters of participants according to the salience of their categories. Clusters were further evaluated for complexity and consistency of category use across contexts. Seven food schema clusters were identified. Meal/time and Routine categories were the most salient overall and were used by most clusters. Well-being, Person, Source, Convenience, Meal component, and Food group categories varied in salience across clusters. The complexity and consistency of the food categories participants used across the contexts varied among the clusters. This study provided insight about cognitions that may underlie food-choice behaviors. Understanding individuals' food schemas could help nutrition professionals tailor messages to maximize health impact.

Lingual tactile acuity and food texture preferences among children and their mothers

October 2012


164 Reads

Despite anecdotal reports of children being more sensitive to texture than adults, and of texture being one of the main drivers of food aversions, there is a paucity of scientific knowledge on the influence of texture perception on food choice in children. The primary goals of this study were to assess the use of a modified letter-identification task to study lingual tactile acuity, one aspect of oral sensitivity, in children and to examine age-related differences in sensitivity. The secondary goal was to explore whether lingual tactile acuity and age relate to various measures of food choice and preference. To this end, children 7-10 years old (31 girls, 21 boys) and their mothers were tested using identical procedures. To assess lingual tactile acuity, children and mothers were asked to use the tips of their tongues to identify raised alphabetical letters of varying size (2.5-8.0 mm) on Teflon strips. To relate lingual tactile acuity to food texture preferences, a forced-choice questionnaire assessed preferences for foods similar in flavor but different in texture (e.g., smooth versus crunchy peanut butter). Children were able to complete the lingual acuity task as well as their mothers and took less time to assess each letter stimulus (p < 0.001); however, there were no age-related differences in lingual acuity (p = 0.14). Age, but not lingual acuity, related to food texture preferences: mothers preferred harder foods (p < 0.001) and those containing more particles (p < 0.04) than did children, although children's preferences became more adult-like with increasing age. The availability of a rapid, child-friendly method for assessing oral sensitivity opens up new possibilities of examining differences in oral tactile perceptions across the life span. That food preferences changed with age and were not related to oral sensitivity underscores the fact that factors such as experience, culture and family food practices have a significant impact on children's food texture preferences.

Rejection Thresholds in Chocolate Milk: Evidence for Segmentation

October 2012


128 Reads

Bitterness is generally considered a negative attribute in food, yet many individuals enjoy some bitterness in products like coffee or chocolate. In chocolate, bitterness arises from naturally occurring alkaloids and phenolics found in cacao. Fermentation and roasting help develop typical chocolate flavor and reduce the intense bitterness of raw cacao by modifying these bitter compounds. As it becomes increasingly common to fortify chocolate with `raw' cacao to increase the amount of healthful phytonutrients, it is important to identify the point at which the concentration of bitter compounds becomes objectionable, even to those who enjoy some bitterness. Classical threshold methods focus on the presence or absence of a sensation rather than acceptability or hedonics. A new alternative, the rejection threshold, was recently described in the literature. Here, we sought to quantify and compare differences in Rejection Thresholds (RjT) and Detection Thresholds (DT) in chocolate milk spiked with a food safe bitterant (sucrose octaacetate). In experiment 1, a series of paired preference tests was used to estimate the RjT for bitterness in chocolate milk. In a new group of participants (experiment 2), we determined the RjT and DT using the forced choice ascending method of limits. In both studies, participants were segmented on the basis of self-declared preference for milk or dark solid chocolate. Based on sigmoid fits of the indifference-preference function, the RjT was ~2.3 times higher for those preferring dark chocolate than the RjT for those preferring milk chocolate in both experiments. In contrast, the DT for both groups was functionally identical, suggesting that differential effects of bitterness on liking of chocolate products are not based on the ability to detect bitterness in these products.

Personality factors predict spicy food liking and intake

April 2013


1,264 Reads

A number of factors likely affect the liking of capsaicin-containing foods such as social influences, repeated exposure to capsaicin, physiological differences in chemosensation, and personality. For example, it is well known that repeated exposure to capsaicin and chilies can result in chronic desensitization. Here, we explore the relationship between multiple personality variables - body awareness/consciousness, sensation seeking, and sensitivity to punishment, and sensitivity to reward - and the liking and consumption of capsaicin-containing foods. As expected, a strong relationship was found between liking of spicy foods and frequency of chili consumption. However, no association was observed between frequency of chili consumption and the perceived burn/sting of sampled capsaicin. Nor was there any association between perceived burn/sting of capsaicin and any of the personality measures. Private Body Consciousness did not relate to any of the measures used in the current study. Sensation Seeking showed positive correlations with the liking of spicy foods, but not non-spicy control foods. Sensitivity to Punishment showed no relation with frequency of chili consumption, and nonsignificant negative trends with liking of spicy foods. Conversely, Sensitivity to Reward was weakly though significantly correlated with the liking of a spicy meal, and similar nonsignificant trends were seen for other spicy foods. Frequency of chili consumption was positively associated with Sensation Seeking and Sensitivity to Reward. Present data indicate individuals who enjoy spicy foods exhibit higher Sensation Seeking and Sensitivity to Reward traits. Rather than merely showing reduced response to the irritating qualities of capsaicin as might be expected under the chronic desensitization hypothesis, these findings support the hypothesis that personality differences may drive differences in spicy food liking and intake.

Consumer rejection threshold for 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol) in Australian red wine

October 2009


408 Reads

The compound 1,8-cineole is known to elicit the perception of eucalyptus flavour. There is debate over whether eucalyptus flavour is positive or should be considered a taint in red wine. The current experiment measured a consumer rejection threshold (CRT) in red wine, using samples spiked with increasing concentrations of cineole. Results estimated the CRT in red wine at 27.5 ppb. Analysis of a post-experiment questionnaire suggested that preference for cineole is not significantly influenced by gender, age, level of experience or prior experience, though these results were based on a small sample. Results suggest that a moderate intensity of eucalyptus character in red wine should not be considered a taint and that some consumers may consider moderate intensities preferable to no eucalyptus character. The CRT determined allows quantitative decisions to be made in response to measured levels of cineole in red wine. Winemakers and wine marketers considering promoting eucalyptus character as a taste dimension in wine now have a quantitative basis on which to be guided.

Comparison of the labeled affective magnitude (LAM) scale, an 11-point category rating scale and the traditional nine-point hedonic scale

January 2010


559 Reads

Schutz and Cardello [Schutz, H. G. & Cardello, A. V. (2001). A labeled affective magnitude (LAM) scale for assessing food liking/disliking. Journal of Sensory Studies, 16, 117–159] proposed the labeled magnitude (LAM) scale for measuring food acceptance. The LAM is a line scale anchored at its end points with the phrases “greatest imaginable like” and “greatest imaginable dislike” and uses as intermediate anchors the nine phrases of the traditional hedonic scale. In this study, three hedonic scales were compared, including the widely-used 9-point hedonic scale, the LAM scale, and an 11-point category scale using the LAM’s verbal anchors as category labels. Three groups of consumers (N = about 100 each) used one of the three scales to evaluate the acceptability of highly liked foods (orange juices, potato chips, cookies, and ice cream, with four samples of each). Scales were evaluated primarily on their ability to show differences in acceptability, the correspondence of acceptance ratings to preference ranking and the correspondence of stated product usage (e.g., purchase of pulp vs. non-pulp orange juice) to the product scoring highest. All three scales performed equally well, with no one scale showing a consistent superiority over another. All three scales were able to differentiate acceptability of the orange juices, chips and cookies. No scale differentiated among the ice creams, which had equal and high acceptability. All scales showed a strong correspondence between liking and preference rankings and also between the product rated highest and the type of product usually consumed, within each of the product categories.

Sensory profiling by children aged 6-7 and 10-11 years. Part 1: A descriptor approach

September 2004


57 Reads

There is a paucity of data that describe the sensory attributes that influence the liking of foods by children. This is primarily due to the absence of appropriate methods. In this study 208 children aged 6–7 and 10–11 years of age used a three phase procedure to generate descriptors, measure their appropriateness and determine the attributes that predict liking of sausages, hamburgers, lamb chops and rump steak. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to generate models for predicting liking, and cross-validation and diagnostic procedures checked the validity, reliability and independence of the attributes that predicted liking. The data indicated that both groups of children could generate a rich array of descriptors that were appropriate for the products, and the profiles and predictive models were generally reproducible. Importantly, the attributes that influenced liking were different for the two age groups, with mouthfeel characteristics important for the younger group and taste/smell for the 10–11 year olds. Gender had little influence on liking, the exception being 10–11 year old females who liked sausages less than similarly aged males.

Sensory profiling by children aged 6-7 and 10-11 years. Part 2: A modality approach

September 2004


77 Reads

Development of a method for determining which sensory factors influence liking of children for a product is needed by the food industry. The present study uses a one-step procedure and confines the semantics to understanding the meanings of the six main sensory modalities appearance, smell, taste, texture/mouthfeel, aftertaste and afterfeel that may influence liking of a product. Here the products investigated were lamb chops, sausages and rump steak. Regression analysis was used to generate models for predicting liking, and cross-validation and diagnostic procedures checked the validity, reliability and independence of the variables that predicted liking. The results indicated that taste was the major influence on liking for all three meats for 10–11 year olds, whilst the textural factors mouthfeel and afterfeel were the most important for the younger children for two of the meats. Gender had no influence on liking. Finally, the results indicate that children can be trained to use modalities as a means for generating sensory profiles of foods and that satisfactory models can be developed for predicting the attributes that determine liking for a product.

Consumer-driven product development in the kiwifruit industry. Food Quality and Preference, 14, 187-198

April 2003


347 Reads

In today's business environment, a continuous supply of novel products is essential to retaining competitive advantage. Consequently, the fruit industry is under pressure to develop new cultivars. The present study describes the application of preference mapping methodology to aid product development in the kiwifruit industry. Recently, a new yellow-fleshed, sweet and fruity flavoured cultivar of kiwifruit was launched on the marketplace. In this study, a comparison of consumer preferences for this new type of kiwifruit with that of the familiar green-fleshed and sweet-tart tasting kiwifruit was undertaken. Using fruit from eight different genotypes consumer preferences for these two distinctly different types of kiwifruit were explored. Acknowledging the problems associated with sensory evaluation of fruit like kiwifruit, which ripens rapidly, careful attention was given to ensuring optimum fruit quality and even ripeness of samples presented to consumers, as well as sensory panellists. A segmented population with respect to liking of yellow-fleshed kiwifruit genotypes was observed. Consumers’ acceptance of the yellow kiwifruit was not related to trait food neophobia.

Predicting intentions and behaviour of Swedish 10–16-year-olds at breakfast

July 1997


48 Reads

The study applied the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to study the determinants of Swedish children's intentions and actual breakfast choices, the focus being upon healthy vs. unhealthy choices. Children from three age groups (10, 13, and 16 years) participated by completing a questionnaire based on the TPB and a 4-day diary of breakfast choices (total N = 218). For all food groups investigated, intentions were well-predicted (50–84% variability explained) principally by attitudes and in some cases subjective norms; perceived behavioural control was a significant predictor in only one out of six cases. Food choice as assessed by self-report diary was not well-predicted (2–38% of variability explained), being only moderately related to intentions and not at all to control.

Fig. 4. The model for the 2AFC procedure. Note that the b criterion and s criterion are exactly equivalent for this procedure. The symmetry of the model hints at a simplified representation, which is illustrated in Fig. 5.
Fig. 5. A simplified version of the 2AFC model illustrated in Fig. 4. This version is commonly given in textbooks and other publications. Note that the difference between the means of the distributions is ffiffiffi 2 p d 0 while the variance of the
Fig. 6. The model for the 2AFCR procedure when the s decision strategy is assumed. 
Variants of A Not-A and 2AFC tests: Signal Detection Theory models
  • Article
  • Full-text available

December 2012


1,481 Reads

Signal Detection Theory provides an approach to modelling difference test procedures that allows an estimate of the sensory difference between products to be obtained independently of the response bias and decision strategy used by the judge, and of the test procedure used to estimate that difference. The estimate of sensory difference obtained, d′, is therefore much closer to a ‘true’ estimate of sensory difference than many other measures employed by sensory scientists. The methods used to generate models based on Signal Detection Theory are standard, and these methods are applied to the development of models for two test procedures (A Not-A and 2AFC) and their reminder equivalents (A Not-AR and 2AFCR). 2AFCR is procedurally identical to the duo-trio procedure with a constant reference; however, it is shown that there is more than one decision strategy available to the judge in this task.

Visualizing the difference between triangle and 3AFC judgements

December 1995


31 Reads

The Thurstone-Ura model of triangle and 3AFC judgements explains the greater statistical power of 3AFC tests compared with triangular tests, but its mathematical expression is abstract. However, if the subjective differences among samples are represented on isometric co-ordinates, it is possible to express a Thurstone model of the triangle and 3AFC tasks as a bivariate normal distribution divided into segments by straight lines representing optimal decision rules. The triangle and 3AFC have different optimal decision rules and hence different segment shapes, which account for the tests' different relationships between sensory acuity and the probability of making a correct response. The isometric representation makes the same predictions of these relationships as more abstract formulations but is much easier to represent graphically and to explain to non-specialists.

Miles S & Frewer LJ: Investigating specific concerns about different food hazards. Food Qual. Pref. 12, 47-61

January 2001


425 Reads

The increase in public concern regarding food hazards and decline in public trust in food risk regulators suggests that there is a need to identify the actual concerns held by the public regarding specific food hazards in order to develop effective risk communication. In this paper we report the findings of semi-structured interviews, using the laddering technique, that aimed to identify the concerns held by the public with regard to five specific food hazards (BSE, genetic modification of food, high fat diets, pesticide residues in food and Salmonella food poisoning). It was found that most of the identified characteristics and concerns were unique to specific food hazards, though some were shared. The findings were supported in a validation study using a more representative sample of the public. The discussion argues that risk messages addressing these specific concerns will be more relevant to the public than general messages, which may lead to more effective risk communication.

Fig. 1. Model.
Health and seafood consumption patterns among women aged45–69 years. A Norwegian seafood consumption study

March 2004


492 Reads

Main research question: the aim of the study was to investigate how perception about diet and health, eating habits and socioeconomic pattern influence choice of seafood. Materials and methods: a randomly drawn sample of Norwegian women aged 45–69 years answered a self-administrated mail questionnaire about eating habits, socioeconomic status, and questions related to health. There were 9407 women answered the questionnaire (response rate 52.5%). Findings: the mean level of seafood consumption was 2.7 times a week. Seafood consumption increased with (1) increasing belief in the idea that diet is important for health (2) using medicine for cardiovascular disease (3) other healthy eating habits (4) increasing age, (5) increasing household size, (6) decreasing family income, and (7) having residence in coastal areas. The growing consumption of fat fish is greater in central eastern Norway, while lean fish consumption is related to traditional food consumption. Processed fish consumption is related to consumption of other fast food. Conclusions and implications. seafood consumption is strongly related to consumption of three food groups: healthy food, fast food, and traditional food. The marginal benefit is high for health information and the marketing of seafood as healthy food, which fits into the current food lifestyle of consumption in all three food segments. Marketing implications are outlined.

Consumption frequency and degree of abstraction: A study using the laddering technique on beef consumers

March 2009


121 Reads

Consumer behaviour is being marked by changes in consumption trends. Hence, a knowledge and understanding of how consumers reflect key aspects of their personality in the products they purchase and consume is of vital importance to producers wishing to enhance their strategic position in the marketplace. The aim of this study is to investigate the consumption decision structure of beef, to assess the variation in complexity as a function of consumption levels. In order to meet these objectives, we designed a survey based on the means-end chain theory, using the laddering interview technique. The result shows that as consumers’ consumption levels increase, their decision-making processes become more complex, and therefore the reach higher levels of abstraction in the means-end chain. This reveals the incorporation of a greater number of abstract attributes (mainly credence attributes), psychological consequences and terminal values by consumers with higher consumption levels, who incorporate more personality traits into their decisions. Cultural identification and high self-esteem are the main components in the final choice of high-frequency beef consumers. The importance of price issues is apparent among occasional consumers. These findings can be used by firms within the beef sector in order to adapt marketing strategies to different consumption frequency segments.

Analysis of sensory data of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (ABTM) of different ageing by application of PARAFAC models

September 2006


188 Reads






Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena is a typical Italian food product of protected denomination of origin, obtained by alcoholic fermentation and acetic bio-oxidation of cooked musts, and it is aged for at least 12 years in series of wooden casks. The product suitable for marketing is qualified by sensory examination on the whole of 13 sensory parameters.In this study, a series of six casks for each of seven different producers have been investigated by an expert Panel of eight judges, aiming at (i) assessing the degree of variability of the different sensorial attributes with samples ageing, and (ii) evaluating the similarity/dissimilarity among the various parameters together with the degree of agreement of the panellists.Given the three-way nature of the data (samples × panellists × sensory attributes) the PARAFAC method has been used, and a satisfactory model was obtained, highlighting the efficacy of three-way analysis in dealing with the different sources of data variability, extracting the relevant information and displaying it in a simple and interpretable manner.

Sequential use of the triangle, 2-AC, 2-AFC, and same-different methods applied to a cost-reduction effort: Consumer learning acquired throughout testing and influence on preference judgements

July 2001


39 Reads

Taste discrimination and preference of loyal, heavy users of a popular fruit beverage were measured to support a cost reduction effort. The research objective was to determine the highest reduction level permissible without effecting a noticeable perceptual difference among heavy users of the beverage. Judgements of an internal employee panel were considered for predictions of loyal, heavy-user consumer response. Heavy users were defined as individuals who consumed the beverage at least once a week or more. Internal panel 2-AFC and consumer triangle, 2-AC, 2-AFC, and same-different discrimination results collected using the sip methodology were compared using d′ — a measure of the degree of sensory difference to: (1) support the cost reduction effort; (2) study the relationship between scale methods; and (3) examine and establish the relationship between internal and external consumer sip test results. Results of these combined studies showed that while the ingredient reduction was perceived as different even at the lowest levels of reduction and delivered negative implications at 100% reduction, a mid-reduction level was successful in satisfying consumer preference. In light of these findings, the action-decision criteria for moving forward with the cost-reduction reformulation was modified from ‘no perceivable difference’ to ‘parity or superior preference’. Results of these studies led to a successful cost-reduction of the beverage.

Corroborating the 2-AFC and 2-AC Thurstonian models using both a model system and sparking water

September 2004


87 Reads

Two experiments were conducted to investigate the suitability of the Thurstonian models for the 2-AFC (2-alternative forced choice) and 2-AC protocols (2-AFC test with a “no difference” option). The Thurstonian approach predicts that if the same subjects and products are used, the degree of difference measured between the products (d′) should be the same. Experiment I tested this prediction using solutions with different salt concentration. The average d′ values for the 2-AFC and 2-AC were found to be 1.66 and 1.54, respectively, and were not significantly different (t-test, p=0.46). This indicated the suitability of the models for a taste stimulus. Experiment II used a trigeminal stimulus: sparkling water with different CO2 levels as a food system. Three levels of carbonation were used and all three possible pairs of samples were compared. The d′ values measured for the 2-AFC and 2-AC for each pair of products were: pair 1––1.7 and 1.7; pair 2––0.8 and 0.7; pair 3––1.2 and 1.0. For each pair of products, no significant difference was observed between the d′ of each protocol (t-tests, p=0.65, 0.20, 0.30, respectively), giving further support to the Thurstonian models of these paradigms and indicating their robustness.

A new research platform to contribute to the pleasure of eating and healthy food behaviors through academic and applied Food and Hospitality research

December 2009


41 Reads

A new research platform, namely the Institut Paul Bocuse's Food and Hospitality Research Centre has been presented during a one-day conference on June 20th 2008. This special section gathers a presentation of the Research Centre and its first projects followed by a series of papers from members of the scientific board. The presentations of the Institut projects and the presentations of the scientific board demonstrate the very wide breadth of research interest of the Institut Paul Bocuse. (c) 2009 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Consumer acceptance of canola oils during temperature-accelerated storage

December 1994


36 Reads

Ninety-two consumers judged the odour acceptability (yes or no) of regular (12·5% 18:3) and low linolenic acid (2·5% 18:3) canola oils which had been stored at 60°C for 21 and 42 days, respectively. For each storage day an average proportion of acceptance (APA) was calculated. Logistic regression analyses of storage days vs. APA yielded valid relationships for both oils. These equations permitted prediction of the number of days of accelerated storage for APA values from 0·4 to 0·8. The storage time to 0·5 APA, the consumer acceptance threshold, was 12·5 days for regular canola oil and 34·3 days for low linolenic acid canola oil, indicating substantially greater stability for the genetically modified caltivar. The frequency and character of free choice negative odour descriptors which were assigned to both oils at 0·5 APA were similar.

Beer astringency assessed by time-intensity and quantitative descriptive analysis: Influence of pH and accelerated aging

September 2006


217 Reads

pH and oxygen are usually considered as the main factors influencing the organoleptic stability of beer. Polyphenols from malt and hop contribute to several characteristics of beer flavor, but their incidence on astringency is rarely mentioned.In this work, effects of pH (3.0 and 5.0) and accelerated aging (0 or 5 days at 40 °C with low or high level of oxygen in the bottle) on astringency were measured by two sensory analysis methods: quantitative descriptive analysis and time–intensity analysis. In addition, the polymerization degree of polyphenols was determined for the different samples in this study. Whatever the sensory technique used, a trained panel showing high repeatability identified pH as the only factor having a significant effect on astringency. Accelerated aging, even with high level of oxygen in the bottle, does not significantly modify perception of this sensation compared with the 4 °C-stored beer, probably because the variation of polymerization degree of polyphenols was not sufficient to be detected by the panelists.

How information enhances acceptability of a low-fat spread

April 1996


42 Reads

The effect of nutritional information (fat and salt content) on the acceptance and perceived sensory attributes of a low-fat (40% vegetable fat), low-salt (0.7% NaCl) spread was studied among 50 subjects. Pleasantness, saltiness and melting rate in the mouth were rated without information, after 7 days' of home-use, and with information. The effect of information on ratings was studied before and after home-use. Subjects' concern about food and health was assessed by a background questionnaire. Nutritional information presented before the period of home-use increased the pleasantness and melting-rate ratings, while information presented after home-use did not significantly affect either pleasantness or sensory ratings. Concern about food and health had a positive effect on pleasantness ratings, and information had stronger impact on concerned subjects. Pleasantness or attribute intensity ratings did not change during the home-use period. The results indicate that information about the nutritional content of food affects hedonic ratings and perceived attribute intensities.

Top-cited authors