Colour may be key to consumer acceptance of whole grain foods: Study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Whole grain, Journal of food science

The size and colour of wholegrain wheat particles plays a fundamental role in determining consumer liking and acceptance of products, according to a new study.

The research, published in Journal of Food Science​, reports that the sensory properties of whole grain products are significantly influenced by the colour of wheat, the particle size of bran in the flour, and by the type of products made using the flours.

The authors, led by Dr. Lisa Duizer, from the department of food science, at the University of Guelph, Canada, said that bran particle size “appears to be important, especially if low-moisture products are being manufactured,”​ but also noted that colour may play an important role.

“This research also demonstrates that wheat colour influences the sensory properties and consumer acceptance of whole grain products,”​ they added.

Study details

Duizer and her co-workers reported sensory differences in whole grain products made from red or white wheat with small or large bran particles sizes and different product moisture contents.

They reported that bran particle size had a large effect on the sensory properties of the whole grain products, particularly within the low moisture cracker. Conversely bran particle size had little influence on consumer acceptance, where colour was found to play an important role.

Red wheat products were found to be more acceptable than the white wheat products.

Duizer and her colleagues concluded that future research in the field “should investigate consumer acceptance of commercially available whole grain products, to identify consumer groups that are not captured by the current market offerings.”

Whole grains

The consumption of products made with whole grain is promoted globally by international organisations, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). The authors said that this is mainly due to the positive association of a diet high in whole grains with reduced risk of coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, and certain types of cancers.

“There are numerous components within whole grains including vitamins, resistant starch, minerals, fibre, and phytochemicals that likely contribute to the observed health benefits ... However, regardless of these benefits, the consumption of whole grains remains below the daily recommendations,” ​said the researchers.

Dr. Duizer and her colleagues said the reasons for low consumption of whole grain products are unclear, but suggested that “altered sensory properties of whole wheat products compared to refined wheat products are contributing to the low consumption of whole grain products.”

Source: Journal of Food Science
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02200.x
“Sensory Characteristics and Consumer Acceptance of Bread and Cracker Products Made from Red or White Wheat”
Authors: C.A. Challacombe, K. Seetharaman, L.M. Duizer

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