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Can information affect sensory perceptions? Evidence from a survey on Italian organic food consumers

1 School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
2 Department of Agricultural and Food Science, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
3 Consumer and Sensory Science, Nofima AS, As Norway
4 Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, United States

Special Editions: Consumer sensory perception and quality of food: trends in sensory branding

This paper aims to investigate the influence of information on consumers’ preferences and sensory perceptions of organic food using a sample of 301 Italian organic food consumers. Consumers stated their preferences for “core organic” attributes, labels and information on food products and performed blind and informed tests on strawberry yoghurts and cookies. Data were analysed using descriptive analysis, Mann-Whitney U tests and Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Results revealed that consumers appreciate “core organic” attributes, like artisanal production and variability of sensory attributes. Comparing blind and informed tests, results showed that information affects the overall liking of products and consumers’ perception of product-specific sensory attributes. However, the influence of information on sensory perceptions depends on the product category, sensory attributes and the type of information provided.
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