Consumer beliefs regarding fat replacement and sensory perceptions of foods made with 0% fat yoghurt.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: The recent increase in the prevalence of obesity has been classified as a global epidemic. Despite industry efforts to reduce the saturated fat content of commonly consumed foods, limited research is available surrounding consumer acceptability of these foods. The purpose of this study is to explore sensory perceptions of reduced fat foods, and gain insight into the factors that influence consumer decision-making with regards to the purchase of reduced fat products. Method: The research consisted of a self-administered hedonic sensory evaluation and questionnaire administered to a population of Cardiff Metropolitan University students and staff with an age range of 18 to 50 years (sample size: N=57). Results: In a blind sensory evaluation, two reduced fat foods containing an average of 53.9% less total fat than their paired high fat counterpart were preferred by consumers. Despite this, only 47% of consumers described themselves as “willing to buy a ‘reduced fat’ product if it could mean a loss of palatability”. Qualitative evaluation showed that only 15.2% of consumers focused on healthiness of foods when making purchasing decisions, and the majority of participants described flavour as the most important factor when buying food (30.5%). Conclusion: This study demonstrates discrepancies between consumer perceptions of reduced fat foods in blind hedonic evaluation, and consumer attitudes towards the purchase of reduced fat foods. Further research into this area is necessary, focusing on strengthening the links between nutrition research and the food industry.
BSc (Hons) Public Health Nutrition
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