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Comparison of three sensory characterization methods based on consumer perception for the development of a novel functional cereal-based dessert

1 Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Nutrition Science, Food Science and Technology/National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Student Research Committee, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Tehran, Iran
3 Department of Food Science and Technology, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Faculty of Nutrition sciences and Food Technology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, P.O.Box 19395-4741, Tehran, Iran

Milk can be modified by several processes to yield numerous kinds of food products with specific functional properties besides increasing the food value. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of various concentration of cereal flours (10–16%), inulin (6 and 8%) and sugar (2 and 4%) on sensory characteristic, consumer acceptance and drivers of liking of a new low sugar/fat prebiotic dairy dessert. In this way, descriptive analysis with trained panelists and three consumer profiling techniques were used and the agreement between them was compared. Nine samples of desserts with different concentration of flour, inulin and sugar were formulated using a mixture design. The samples were evaluated by a panel of 120 consumers, randomly divided into three groups of 40, who evaluated sensory characteristics of the desserts using intensity scale, or a check-all-that-apply (CATA questions) or open-ended questions. Results revealed that various concentration of cereal flours, inulin and sugar resulted in significant changes in the sensory properties of the desserts. Adding higher levels of inulin and sugar led to lower intensities in attributes thickness and creaminess. Samples with higher level of flour and lower level of inulin and sugar were liked by consumers and their high intensities in creaminess and thickness drove liking. Results showed that all the three consumer profiling techniques yielded similar information to descriptive analysis with the trained panel. Likewise, sample configurations from the CATA questions were the most similar to those afforded by the panel of trained assessors. These methodologies could be appealing techniques to investigate the relationship between sensory data and consumer description. Moreover, sensory techniques using consumer perception showed to be valuable to develop functional dessert, which is very important in market succession.
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