Source: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS submitted to
CONSUMER BEHAVIOR WITH RESPECT TO FOOD, NUTRITION, AND DIET-RELATED HEALTH
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
REVISED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0208617
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
CA-D-FST-7598-H
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2011
Project End Date
Oct 1, 2016
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Guinard, J. X.
Recipient Organization
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS
410 MRAK HALL
DAVIS,CA 95616-8671
Performing Department
Food Science and Technology
Non Technical Summary
The relation between diet and health is well documented. The rapid increases in chronic diseases and obesity in the US are attributed in significant part to unhealthy dietary choices and patterns. Yet, our understanding of the determinants of food preferences, choice and intake and other diet-related consumer behaviors continues to be limited, and so is our understanding of the obstacles to the adoption of healthy diets by individuals. Evidence does suggest that for many of the foods or recipes deemed healthful by nutrition experts (i.e., produce, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fish), consumer appeal is low compared to less healthy foods and recipes whose sensory appeal is linked to high levels of salt, sugar and fat. But many other variables come into play. We have developed and validated a consumer research model that accounts for the multivariate nature of consumer behavior and provides a holistic framework for the investigation of factors mitigating food choice and consumption behavior. This model relates consumer behavior to three types of variables - product variables, consumer variables and context variables. Product variables are all the characteristics of the product, such as price, brand, package, label information, and sensory properties, among others. Consumer variables are mostly genetics, demographics and psychographics. Context variables can summarily be defined as all those variables that are not product or consumer variables. In practice, they include the physical environment of consumption but also the non-physical context. The consumption behavior measures that can be modeled with this model are preferences, liking, purchase intent, repeat purchase, and satisfaction, among others. The model also considers culture as a set of variables that overlaps between consumer and context variables. The goal of this research is to improve our understanding of consumer behavior with respect to food, nutrition and diet-related health. Specific objectives are 1) to develop and test new consumer research methods and models for the investigation of consumer behavior, particularly food preferences, likes and dislikes, food choice, and food intake; 2) to research the formulation of sensory liking among consumers, e.g., how do consumers decide whether they like or dislike a food; 3) to investigate the respective influences of product, consumer and context variables on consumer behavior; and 4) to formulate foods, recipes and menus for health with high acceptance among consumers. Expected outputs and outcomes for those objectives are 1) refined and novel methodologies for the investigation of consumer behavior and model(s) of consumer behavior; 2) an improved understanding of how consumers formulate their liking or dislike for foods with regard to the process and the factors that influence that process and its outcome(s); 3) a determination of the respective influences of product (sensory and non-sensory), consumer and context variables on food choice and intake for a wide range of foods and beverages; and 4) the formulation of foods, beverages, recipes and menus for better health with a high level of acceptance among consumers.
Animal Health Component
50%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
50%
Applied
50%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
7035010309015%
7037220309015%
7245010309020%
7247220307020%
5025010309010%
5027220309010%
7037310309010%
Goals / Objectives
The goal of this research is to improve our understanding of consumer behavior with respect to food, nutrition and diet-related health. Specific objectives are (1) to develop and test new consumer research methods and models for the investigation of consumer behavior, particularly food preferences, likes and dislikes, food choice, and food intake; (2) to research the formulation of sensory liking among consumers; (3) to investigate the respective influences of product, consumer and context variables on consumer behavior; and (4) to formulate foods, recipes and menus for health with high acceptance among consumers. Expected outputs for objectives 1-4 are: 1)Refined and novel methodologies for the investigation of consumer behavior; new consumer research model(s); 2)An improved understanding of how consumers formulate their liking or dislike for foods with regard to the process and the factors that influence that process and its outcome(s); 3)A determination of the respective influences of product (sensory and non-sensory), consumer and context variables on food choice and intake for a wide range of foods and beverages; 4)The formulation of foods, beverages, recipes and menus for better health with a high level of acceptance among consumers.
Project Methods
1)Consumer research methodologies. Development or refinement of methodologies will entail combining quantitative and qualitative consumer research methods. On the quantitative side, we will use established tools: surveys, questionnaires and product (sensory) evaluation tests that have been designed to measure specific consumer behaviors (preferences, choice, purchase, intake, etc) or consumer variables (values, emotions, demographics, psychographics, etc), and refine or combine them in unique and innovative ways to tackle as many of the quantifiable variables and effects in the consumer research model. On the qualitative side, we will explore and refine existing tools (means-end chain analysis, focus groups, individual interviews, ethnography). Finally, we will combine them to provide a complete and accurate view of consumer behaviors of interest and apply multivariate statistical techniques, such as factor analysis (principal component analysis, correspondence analysis, Procrustes analysis, etc.), classification (cluster analysis) and regression (partial least squares regression, response surface methodology) methods to the analysis of the data and the modeling of the behavior. 2)The formulation of liking. We propose to compare traditional preference mapping approaches that relate consumer hedonic ratings to descriptive analysis profiles across a set of products representative of a particular category to new approaches involving rapid sorting and napping methods by trained panels and consumers. Outcomes of these analyses by trained panels and consumers will be related using multivariate statistics as outlined for the first objective. 3) Influence of product, consumer and context variables on food choice and intake. We will compare the respective influences of product sensory (color, taste, aroma, flavor, texture, mouthfeel, etc.) and non-sensory (nutritional content and information, marketing mix, brand, etc.) factors, consumer variables (genetics, demographics and psychographics), and context variables (loosely defined as anything which is not a product or consumer variable) on the consumer behaviors of interest. For that purpose, the methods outlined above will be used to measure the variables and behavior(s) of interest. 4)Formulation of foods, beverages, recipes and menus for better health. We will first look for natural ingredients and foods that have documented desirable health properties and promising sensory properties using advanced scientific literature searches. Our focus will be on ingredients and foods with documented anti-oxidant and pre- and probiotic properties, as well as flavor-enhancing or reducing capabilities, depending on the nature of the flavor. We will then use food, recipe and menu engineering to replace nutritionally-undesirable ingredients or components with desirable ones while maintaining or even enhancing the sensory appeal of the food or recipe. The success of this sensory engineering will be assessed by measuring the sensory properties of the food(s), recipe(s), menu(s) and/or diet(s) by descriptive analysis methods and their sensory acceptability by consumer testing methods.

Progress 01/01/12 to 12/31/12

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Outputs are reported for Objectives 1-4. (1) a. We contributed to the development of a Universal Emotion and Odor Scale (UniGEOS) for the measurement of odor-related feelings as part of a multi-laboratory research initiative on the relation between emotions and smell. The work is in press in Food Quality and Preference, and will provide a tool for researchers to investigate odor-related emotions in different cultures around the world. b. We published the consumer research model that we developed in our previous Experiment Station Project as part of a book chapter on olive oil.c. We created a new method to assess the (sensory) quality of consumer products called Quality Mapping, which extends the preference mapping approach to the measurement of quality by experts and can be used to uncover and measure the positive and negative drivers of sensory quality as perceived by experts. It is proposed as a validation tool for the assessment of sensory quality by experts. It uncovers potential segmentation among the experts and it identifies the sensory drivers of their concept of sensory quality. d. For our investigation of the formulation of sensory liking by consumers, we developed a holistic approach to the measurement of liking with consumers that combined descriptive, sorting, napping and rating tasks. (2) We completed an extensive investigation of the formulation of liking by consumers and are in the process of submitting the dissertation work of Dr. Soh Min Lee on the topic for publication. (3) We completed an extensive investigation of the effects of personal values on consumer food preferences, choice and purchase behavior. The dissertation work of Dr. Kitsawad Kamolnate on the topic has been submitted for publication. (4) We completed the first phase of our joint Healthy Flavors Initiative with the Culinary Institute of America on the use of mushrooms as a substitute for beef in carne asada and taco mix recipes, along with a reduction of sodium, without compromising the sensory quality and consumer acceptance of the recipes. These recipes capitalize on the flavor-enhancing properties of umami principles in mushrooms, a healthy alternative to beef. They are now available for use by the food service and restaurant industries, and we are writing up the results of our research for publication. PARTICIPANTS: Participant updates are provided for Objectives 1-4. (1)Our work on odors and emotions is in collaboration with various researchers around the world led by Dr. Camille Ferdenzi at the University of Geneva. Our contribution was the focus of Kimberly Court's Master's Thesis. It was funded by Firmenich and the University of Geneva. The Quality Mapping methodology was an outcome of Dr. Claudia Delgado's Ph.D. dissertation work. (2)The investigation we began on the formulation of liking by consumers was the Ph.D. research of Dr. Soh Min Lee, now a post-doctoral researcher in my laboratory. (3) The investigation of the effects of personal values on food preferences, choice and purchase was the Ph.D. research of Dr. Kitsawad Kamolnate, now a faculty member at Assumption University in Thailand. (4)Our work on the substitution of beef with mushrooms was the first step of the Healthy Flavors Initiative - a joint project with the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (CA), which was funded by the Mushroom Council. My co-PI was Dr. Amy Myrdal-Miller from the CIA. Key personnel on the project were Greg Drescher, Kelly Mills and Thomas Wong from the CIA, Dr. Soh-Min Lee, Dr. Sarah Schaeffer and Ph.D. Candidate Chirat Sirimuangmoon from UC Davis, and Sue Langstaff, Sensory Science Consultant, Applied Sensory LLC. TARGET AUDIENCES: Our research is designed to improve consumer behavior with respect to food, nutrition and diet-related health. As such, the main target audience for our efforts is consumers at large. Other audiences are food and consumer researchers, the food industry and the food service and restaurant industries. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
Outcomes and impacts are reported for Objectives 1, 3 and 4. (1) a. The scales that have been developed for the measurement of odor-related feelings are now being used by researchers worldwide in their investigation of emotions and smells, and have become the golden standard in this area of consumer research. b. Our new consumer research model, that considers the effects of product, consumer and context variables on consumer behavior, combines quantitative and qualitative data collection with multivariate statistics, and uncovers trends and key learnings, is now being used by the consumer research community. c. Our Quality Mapping methodology is new being used for the assessment of sensory quality in consumer products. d. Our research on the formulation of liking by consumers involved various methodological developments, most focused on providing a more holistic approach to the measurement of liking by consumers. These approaches were investigated in fruit juice blends, for an aqueous food system, and in cereal/granola bars, for a solid food system. Projective mapping allowed less complex polynomial modeling for consumer preferences in the tested food systems. Hedonic judgment may play a role when sensory information is collected directly from consumers through the use of projective mapping; and consumers may prioritize sensory criteria for the differentiation of products based on their relevance to hedonic judgment, i.e., sweetness. Positional relative rating, a hedonic data collection procedure, provided an equivalent result to monadic evaluation with the 9-point point hedonic scale. (3) Our investigation of the effects of personal values on food preferences, choice and purchase revealed three consumer segments embracing different values - Universalism, Conservatism and Hedonism. Those had dissimilar concerns for various aspects of foods, thus influencing their food choice, and differed in their sensory preferences. The Universalism cluster emphasized the sensory quality of the products, nutritional benefits, and packaging materials, which reflected the motivational goals of preserving the welfare of the environment and of others. They also preferred products that were perceived to be healthy and natural. The Conservatism cluster emphasized monetary value in their food choices and preferred products they were familiar with. The Hedonism cluster emphasized sensory quality of the products and tended to choose foods that provided pleasure and enjoyment. Rich information on the associations between tangible product factors and personal values was obtained by means-end chain analysis. (4) The first study in the Healthy Flavors Initiative determined how much sodium and meat reduction in popular meat-based dishes could be achieved through substitution with mushrooms without compromising the sensory quality and acceptability of the dishes. It is a promising first step in the development of healthy alternatives to recipes that are traditionally high in sodium and saturated fat.

Publications

  • Kamolnate, K. The role of personal values in food choice and preference: A case study with potato chips and orange juice. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of California, Davis. June 2012.
  • Lee, S. M. An investigation of consumer methodologies for hedonic testing and sensory profiling. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of California, Davis. December 2012.
  • Delgado, C., and J. X. Guinard. Internal and external quality mapping as a new approach to the evaluation of sensory quality a case study with olive oil. Journal of Sensory Studies 27(5):332-343 (2012).
  • Lee, S. M., K. Kitsawad, A. Sigal, D. Flynn, and J. X. Guinard. Sensory properties and consumer acceptance of imported and domestic sliced black ripe olives. Journal of Food Science 77(12):S438-S448 (2012).
  • Ferdenzi, C., S. Delplanque, P. Barbosa, K. Court, J. X. Guinard, T. Guo, S. C. Roberts, A. Schirmer, C. Porcherot, I. Cayeux, D. Sander, and D. Grandjean. Affective semantic space of scents. Towards a universal scale to measure odor-related feelings. Food Quality and Preference (In Press) 2012.
  • Delgado, C., M. Santosa, A. Gomez-Rico, and J. X. Guinard. Olive Oil Consumer Research. In Olive Oil Sensory Science, E. Monteleone and S. Langstaff (eds.). Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK (In Press) 2012.
  • Delgado, C., M. Santosa and J. X. Guinard. Olive Oil Consumer Research. Methods and Key Learnings. In Handbook of Olive Oil: Analysis and Properties. 2nd Edition. R. Aparicio (ed.). Springer, New York (In Press) 2012.


Progress 01/01/11 to 12/31/11

Outputs
OUTPUTS: 1) Consumer research methodologies: we tested the validity of our consumer research model that factors the multivariate influences of product variables, consumer variables and context variables on consumer behavior. We designed three different conjoint analyses to explore consumer acceptance of acai products in the US, and preferences and purchase intentions for potato chips and orange juice; and we combined the results of these analyses with those of qualitative methods and other quantitative methods. Finally, we are developing new methods for the assessment of liking by consumers. 2) Formulation of liking: we have completed critical steps for this project, with the collection of descriptive analysis, napping and preference mapping data for the investigation of how liking for juices and cereal bars is formulated by consumers. We are now analyzing those data sets. 3) Influence of product, consumer and context variables on food choice and intake: we completed a study of the relation between odors and emotions, and presented the results at national and international conferences in the summer of 2011. Knowledge generated in this study will influence how manufacturers and marketers use odors to trigger specific emotions in their customers. We also completed a study of the effect of personal values on food preferences and choice. The results will be presented at international conferences in the summer and fall of 2012. PARTICIPANTS: Ms. Kimberly Court worked on our Odors and Emotions project for her MS Thesis. She is now a Sensory Analyst at Tragon Corporation. This research was conducted in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Geneva and Firmenich, a multinational flavor and fragrance company. Ms. Ploy Kitsawad conducted the research on personal values and food preferences and choice. She will receive her doctoral degree in the spring of 2012. Ms. Soh-Min Lee is conducting the research of the formulation of liking by consumers. She is expected to receive her doctoral degree in the fall of 2012. TARGET AUDIENCES: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
Given that this project got underway in 2012, it is premature to report outcomes or impacts at this juncture.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/10 to 12/31/10

Outputs
OUTPUTS: We developed and validated a consumer research model that accounts for the multivariate nature of consumer behavior and provides a holistic framework for the investigation of sensory and non-sensory factors mitigating food consumption behavior. This consumer research model relates consumer behavior to three types of variables - product variables, consumer variables and context variables. Product variables are all the characteristics of the product, such as price, brand image, package, label information, and sensory properties, among others. Consumer variables are mostly demographics and psychographics, but also include anatomy, physiology and genetics. Context variables can summarily be defined as all those variables that are not product or consumer variables. In practice, they include the physical environment of consumption but also the non-physical context. The consumption behavior measures that can be modeled with this model are variables such as preferences, liking, purchase intent, repeat purchase, and satisfaction, among others. The model also considers culture as a set of variables that overlaps between the consumer variables and the context variables. Because it is a multivariate model, multivariate statistics are required to analyze the effect of the different variables on the behavioral measure whenever quantitative methods are used to investigate the behavior. In turn, because multivariate statistics are used, trends and patterns are uncovered rather than quantifiable cause-effect relationships. Because of the sheer number of potential variables in the model, it is not possible to effect the data collection entirely with quantitative means. The model also combines discrete and non-discrete independent variables, and hence requires both parametric and non-parametric statistics. The trends we seek to uncover and the relative contributions of the variables we want to elucidate are resolved either through multivariate analysis of quantitative data or by deriving key learnings from qualitative approaches. Our research has expanded, refined, combined or developed both quantitative and qualitative consumer testing methods as required by the model (e.g., ethnography, focus groups, sorting tasks, means end chains, conjoint analysis, etc.) and it has contributed new sensormetrics tools for the analysis of consumer data. We have applied this model to the study of purchasing and consumption behavior for a range of products such as olive oil, table olives, melons, and acai berries. Our work on the development of fortified foods with increased palatability to reduce the incidence of nutritional deficiencies has continued with the optimization of zinc-fortified flour-based products. PARTICIPANTS: Not relevant to this project. TARGET AUDIENCES: The consumer research model we developed allowed us to better understand how product variables, consumer variables and context variables account for consumer behavior with regard to food choice and intake. We will disseminate this knowledge to consumers in an effort to improve their nutrition and to food producers and manufacturers to help them formulate healthier foods. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
This research into consumer behavior with respect to foods, beverages and other consumer products can help us manufacture better products by first understanding, and then meeting consumer needs and expectations, and bring solutions to the current public health crisis by improving our understanding of the behavioral obstacles to the adoption of healthy diets and lifestyles by consumers of all ages.

Publications

  • Ferguson, L. Rosa, U. A., Castro-Garcia, S., Lee, S. M., Guinard, J.-X., Burns, J., Krueger, W. H., OConnell, N. V. and Glozer, K. 2010. Mechanical harvesting of California table and oil olives. Adv. Hort. Sci. 24(1):53-63.
  • Santosa, M., Abdi, H. and Guinard, J.-X. 2010. A modified sorting task to investigate consumer perceptions of extra virgin olive oils. Food Quality and Preference, 21, 881-892.
  • G.J. Aaron, N. Ba Lo, S.Y. Hess, A.T. Guiro, S. Wade, N.F. Ndiaye, J-X. Guinard and K.H. Brown. 2010. Acceptability of Complementary Foods and Breads Prepared from Zinc-Fortified Cereal Flours among Young Children and Adults in Senegal. Journal of Food Science. 76(1);56 - 62.
  • Delgado, C. and Guinard, J.-X. 2010. How do consumer hedonic ratings for extra virgin olive oil relate to quality ratings by experts and descriptive analysis ratings Food Quality and Preference. 22(2):213-225.
  • Santosa, M. and Guinard, J.-X. 2010. Means-end chains analysis of extra virgin olive oil purchase and consumption behavior. Food Quality and Preference. 22(3):304-316.


Progress 01/01/09 to 12/31/09

Outputs
OUTPUTS: We completed our studies of consumer perceptions, sensory and non-sensory, of olive oil. Our research showed that consumers prefer oils which are low in bitterness and pungency, and that most of them actually like oils with some level of rancidity. This confirms the theories that likes and dislikes for taste (bitterness) and trigeminal (pungency) qualities are innate (negative in this case) and that olfactory preferences are learned, based on exposure. Because most of the olive oils on the US market have some rancidity, consumers have learned to tolerate or even like somewhat rancid oils. Our work on consumer perceptions of olive oil further shows that consumers know little about the sensory properties and the health benefits of olive oil, nor do they know much about the regulations that govern the production and the labeling of olive oil. Our research shows that there are huge opportunities to further introduce a healthy fat -olive oil, into the diet of Americans and it suggests that through proper education of consumers, the opportunities to expand the production and sales of high quality, extra-virgin oils are substantial. PARTICIPANTS: Not relevant to this project. TARGET AUDIENCES: Not relevant to this project. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
This research into consumer behavior with respect to foods, beverages and other consumer products can help us manufacture better products by first understanding, and then meeting consumer needs and expectations, and bring solutions to the current public health crisis by improving our understanding of the behavioral obstacles to the adoption of healthy diets and lifestyles by consumers of all ages.

Publications


    Progress 01/01/08 to 12/31/08

    Outputs
    OUTPUTS: Progress is reported for research objectives 1 and 5. (1) We developed a two-stage sorting task to probe American consumers' perceptions and opinions of extra virgin olive oil. Sorting data for 25 olive oils were analyzed using a three-way extension of classical multidimensional scaling called DISTATIS which explores the level of consumer agreement as well as the structure of the olive oil products. Consumers' comments were analyzed qualitatively prior to statistical analysis and were later used to understand the sorting results. Despite differences in the socio-demographic backgrounds as well as in consumption and/or usage of extra virgin olive oil products, the majority of the consumers perceived the product set similarly. Most consumers often referred to the currently available related oil products as well as to wine to anchor their explanations for the olive oils. This shows that although extra virgin olive oil has been around for a long time, it is a relatively new product category for American consumers. Sorting allowed the consumers to define their perceptions using the physical characteristics of the extra virgin olive oil products and to provide more criteria or multidimensional views of their perception of the products. (5) We are investigating the concept of sensory quality in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) by relating quality ratings by experts, descriptive analysis ratings by a trained panel and hedonic ratings from consumers, using innovative multivariate approaches. We are extending the preference mapping approach to the concept of quality and introducing quality mapping as the analysis of quality ratings by experts, their segmentation and their relation to descriptive analysis ratings. Twenty EVOOs spanning several olive cultivars, countries and prices were selected to cover the spectrum of sensory properties typically encountered in EVOO. A panel of 16 trained judges rated the intensities of over 30 sensory attributes of appearance, flavor and mouthfeel. Quality ratings are being collected from 25 experts drawn from the Los Angeles International EVOO Competition, the California Olive Oil Council Taste Panel and the UC Davis Olive Center. One hundred and twenty consumers will indicate their degree of liking for the oils and their attributes on the 9-point hedonic scale, and then complete an exit survey with demographic and psychographic components. PARTICIPANTS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. TARGET AUDIENCES: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

    Impacts
    Table olives are a commodity of great importance in Mediterranean countries as well as in the United States. Olives produced in different countries hold distinct sensory profiles, since many factors may affect their quality, including fruit genetics, degree of ripening, processing technologies, and agronomical factors. We are characterizing the sensory profiles of sliced black table olives, identifying the sensory characteristics which appeal to consumers in the U.S, and establishing consumer driven quality factors for the table olive industry. A generic descriptive analysis was performed on 20 commercial sliced black table olives from different countries (U.S., Egypt, Morocco, Portugal and Spain). The descriptive panel indentified and rated 35 sensory attributes. It was found that texture characteristics discriminated best among the olives, although they did not separate the olives according to country of origin. When the texture component was excluded and the focus of the statistical analyses was placed on the flavor attributes in the profile, the olives were grouped based on their country of origin. A consumer test (N=100) was conducted to measure liking of the olives and to collect relevant information on olive usage. We are now using multivariate tools including Partial Least Square regression to relate consumer hedonic ratings to the sensory descriptive ratings and identify the sensory drivers of American consumers' preferences. We are also investigating the rationale for the belief that some (red) wines develop a higher sensory quality with age by comparing the sensory properties of Pinot noir wines when they were first released on the market and then four years later, using descriptive analysis methods and basic measures of wine composition. This research into consumer behavior with respect to foods, beverages and other consumer products can help us manufacture better products by first understanding, and then meeting consumer needs and expectations, and bring solutions to the current public health crisis by improving our understanding of the behavioral obstacles to the adoption of healthy diets and lifestyles by consumers of all ages.

    Publications

    • No publications reported this period


    Progress 01/01/07 to 12/31/07

    Outputs
    Progress is reported for research objective 5 - To investigate the concept of quality and the sensory and non-sensory components of quality, as perceived by producers, consumers and commodity experts. We studied the drivers of sensory quality in Pinot noir and Sauvignon blanc wines. Our objectives were (1) to determine whether quality ratings by wine experts or critics and quality ratings by members of the wine industry are related; (2) to examine whether and how those quality ratings by wine experts and by members of industry relate to hedonic ratings by consumers - do consumers like those wines experts say are quality products, or those wines industry members attempt to produce? (3) To examine market segmentation for wine preferences among consumers (do consumers have the same likes and dislikes, or can a number of market segments be identified and if so, can they be characterized? And (4) for each market segment, to determine which sensory attributes drive preferences for Sauvignon blanc and Pinot noir wines (e.g., identify so-called drivers of liking for these varieties). For the Pinot noir variety, the quality ratings by wine experts and by wine industry members were consistent with the hedonic ratings by consumers. The definition of a high quality and well liked Pinot noir wine was one with a dominant red or dark fruit sensory profile, slightly sweeter, and with higher alcohol content. The Wine Spectator was also in agreement with the aforementioned groups, but considered a dark fruit sensory profile to be more indicative of a high quality Pinot noir as opposed to a red fruit sensory profile. By contrast, for the Sauvignon blanc variety, there was less agreement between quality ratings by wine experts or members of the wine industry and hedonic ratings by consumers. The definition of a high quality Sauvignon blanc wine was one with a dominant vegetable sensory profile and with higher alcohol content. A Sauvignon blanc well liked by consumers, on the other hand, was one with a dominant tropical fruit and citrus sensory profile. This study shows that even though there is good agreement between wine critics and wine producers as to what constitutes a high-quality Pinot noir or Sauvignon blanc wine, depending on the variety, that may or may not quite be consistent with what consumers like.

    Impacts
    This research into consumer behavior with respect to foods, beverages and other consumer products can help us manufacture better products by first understanding, and then meeting consumer needs and expectations, and bring solutions to the current public health crisis by improving our understanding of the behavioral obstacles to the adoption of healthy diets and lifestyles by consumers of all ages.

    Publications

    • Tsay, M.J. 2007 Sensory drivers of wine quality: Pinot noir and Sauvignon blanc. Univ. California, Davis. M.S. Thesis. 196 Pp.


    Progress 01/01/06 to 12/31/06

    Outputs
    Progress reported for obj. 1, 5 and 6. 1. A study of the sensory drivers of repeated purchasing behavior by consumers for three product categories showed that a successful product is one that most closely mimics the natural or restaurant version on certain key attributes. The predictive model we developed helps to show the importance of a particular attribute relative to the other. For instance, with orange juice, sourness and fresh aroma are slightly more influential on sales than transparency. The product must be viewed as a multi-collinear network of sensory attributes. A frozen cheese pizza is successful only when all attributes are at their peak levels. The approach we took is promising. By studying the sensory attributes of the food, much can be predicted about the potential success, instead of collecting data from thousands of consumers. Future studies will examine the reproducibility and predictive ability of the model we developed. The relevancy and robustness of the model will also be enhanced by including more marketing variables into it. 5. We studied the drivers of sensory quality in caviar. There is no standardized way to grade caviar, so we looked at which sensory attributes are associated with high and low quality caviars. A descriptive analysis panel developed a lexicon of 33 attributes, 16 of which differed significantly among the 22 commercial caviars we examined. These same caviars were then presented to experts to be rated on a 100-point overall quality scale. Buttery and skin thickness attributes were positively correlated with high quality scores from the experts. Attributes such as bitter, sour, grassy, and muddy were negatively correlated. Several other attributes, such as fresh fish and salty, were unrelated to quality. The results obtained from the experts were quite variable suggesting they had differing concepts of what quality caviar is. 6. We extended our line of research into the links between genetic taste markers, such as 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP), and overall taste and sensory sensitivities, food preferences, diet and health, to children. 121 children, 5 to 7 years, were classified as PROP super-tasters (n=23), tasters (n=74) or nontasters (n=24) based on two PROP vs. water 3-Alternative Forced Choice (3-AFC) tests and a PROP detection threshold measurement using a modified up-and-down method. PROP tasters had significantly lower PROP and caffeine thresholds (P<0.05), but sucrose thresholds did not differ among taster groups. Super-tasters had the most fungiform papillae (52.7 papillae/cm2), followed by tasters (38.5 papillae/cm2) and nontasters (26.3 papillae/cm2) . Even though BMI was not linked to PROP taster status, tasters had significantly higher daily values than supertasters for several dietary intake measures: energy, fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. Nontasters also consumed significantly more protein, saturated fat, and overall ate larger portions than supertasters. Children supertasters, like their adult counterparts, had the most fungiform papillae followed by tasters and nontasters. Caffeine and PROP thresholds were significantly correlated to taster status.

    Impacts
    This research into consumer behavior with respect to foods, beverages and other consumer products can help us manufacture better products by first understanding, and then meeting consumer needs and expectations, and bring solutions to the current public health crisis by improving our understanding of the behavioral obstacles to the adoption of healthy diets and lifestyles by consumers of all ages.

    Publications

    • Smith, J. 2005. Effect of 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) taster status on taste sensitivity, food preferences and dietary intake of children. MS Thesis. Univ. California, Davis. 57 Pp.
    • Kruse, C. Sensory drivers of repeated purchasing behavior. 2006. MS Thesis. Univ. California, Davis. 90 Pp.
    • Ostrander, R. 2006. Sensory evaluation of caviar: shelf-life and drivers of quality. Univ. California, Davis. M.S. Thesis. 126 Pp.