Research highlights importance of sensory labelling cues

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food, Taste

Increased expectation and perception of a foods sensory properties will increase consumer taste acceptance, according to new research which highlights the importance of effective sensory labels.

The study – published in Food Quality and Preference​highlights the importance of sensory cues on food packaging to industry, and reveals an equation to explain the relationship between the expected sensory qualities of a food and the ‘informed’ taste acceptability of such products.

Researchers from packaged food manufacturers and distributors Pulmuone Holdings, Korea, revealed that the expectations provoked by sensory labels increase consumer taste acceptability – with the team providing a quadratic equation that describes the relationship between ‘expected quality’, ‘perceived quality’, ‘informed taste’, and ‘blind taste’.

Led by Bue-Young Imm from the research institute of food and culture at Pulmuone, explained that most of the labels presented in the study were made up of product information relating to sensory properties such as taste, flavour, texture, and appearance.

“Making an attractive sensory label for a product is an important and difficult undertaking,” ​said Imm and colleagues.

“To complete a sensory label of a food product that induces a synergistic effect on consumer’s overall acceptability, and to apply the sensory label to a commercial product, there must be a quantitative guideline to measure the effect of sensory labels on consumer responses,”​ they explained.

Study details

The research team examined the effects of sensory labels on taste acceptance of commercial food products. They designed 12 sensory labels for commercial food products, all aimed to provide a favourable impression to consumers were. Another 12 labels for the same products were selected from the front side of the package.

The effects of two factors of sensory labels – expected sensory quality, and perceived sensory quality – and the similarity between these sensory expectations on taste acceptance was investigated.

Imm and co-workers reported a significant positive correlation between the initial taste acceptability and the similarity of expected and perceived quality of the product.

“When the similarity of expected sensory quality and perceived sensory quality was higher than the expected sensory quality, the initial taste acceptance was significantly higher than blind taste acceptance,”​ they said.

As a result, the researchers suggested that consumer expectations that insufficiently match actual product performance “generate consumer dissatisfaction – a critical limiting factor for commercial food products.”

​Source:Food Quality and Preference
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2012.01.010
Effects of sensory labels on taste acceptance of commercial food products”
Authors: B.Y. Imm, J.H. Lee, S. Hee Lee

Related topics: Science

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