Packaging information as a modulator of consumers’ perception of enriched and reduced-calorie biscuits in tasting and non-tasting tests

26 March 2012

The first contact between consumers and food is usually the packaging and the labeling. The objective of this study was to investigate consumer’s perceptions of packaging and the expectations raised by the nutritional and health claims and nutritional table, among other clues - and their influence on the sensory perception of enriched and calorie-reduced biscuits. 23 enriched or low-calorie biscuits were evaluated by 90 consumers using projective mapping technics to assess the similarity and differences between biscuits in four different scenarios.

Two sessions were conducted without testing the product to determine how consumers perceive the table of nutrition and nutrition and health claims, and how they use this information to evaluate the biscuit. Ten samples were then selected for testing during two sessions: with and without information on the nutrition label and claims.

The results showed that consumers were strongly influenced by the claims identified on the front of the package, especially nutritional ones. In addition, sugar-free biscuits have raised negative expectations and were associated with people with sugar metabolism disorders. The comparison between the two tasting sessions showed clearly that the information had a negative influence on the perception of hedonistic sensory characteristics.

E. Carrillo, P. Varela, S. Fiszman,

Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA). Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). Avda. Agustín Escardino, 7, 46980

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