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Appetite. 2003 Jun;40(3):217-33.

Consumer concerns and expectations about novel food processing technologies: effects on product liking.

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Science and Technology Directorate, US Army Natick Soldier Center, Natick, MA 01760-5020, USA.


Eighty-eight consumers participated in a blind pre-test in which they rated their baseline preference for chocolate pudding, their liking of three tasted brands of chocolate pudding, and their level of concern for 20 different food processing and preservation technologies. All returned one month later and tasted the same puddings, but this time they were informed that they had been processed by one of several different novel or traditional food processing techniques. Different sub-groups were informed of the name of the process, the name plus a factual description of the process, or the name, the factual description, plus a benefit statement. Ratings of expected liking were obtained before and after viewing the samples, but before tasting them. Finally, subjects tasted and rated the products for actual liking and a sub-group rated their concern levels for the same 20 technologies rated in the pre-test. Pre-test results showed females to have significantly higher concern levels for all technologies. Individuals who had demonstrated a willingness to consume foods processed by one novel technology (irradiation) had lower concern ratings for all technologies. Ratings of concern were negatively correlated with expected liking for products believed to be processed by the technologies. Expected liking ratings were positively influenced by visual exposure to the product and by a safety and benefit statement. Linear regression of the change in product liking as a function of whether products were better or worse than expected supported an assimilation model of the effect of disconfirmed expectations on liking/disliking. Lastly, post-test concern levels for many of the technologies were reduced by participation in the study.

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