IDENTIFYING DRIVERS OF LIKING FOR COMMERCIAL SPREADABLE CHEESES WITH DIFFERENT FAT CONTENT

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

The aim of this work was to obtain information about how perceptible differences among commercial spreadable cheeses with different fat content affect consumer liking/disliking. Sensory profiles of six commercial samples, three with regular fat content and three with low-fat content were determined using a trained panel (n = 10), and hedonic responses were obtained from a group of consumers (n = 106). Sensory variability among samples was mainly due to texture and flavor attributes. Three subgroups of consumers with different preference criteria were identified using cluster analyses: a small group of consumers (11%) for whom the variability in sensory attribute intensity among samples did not affect sample acceptability and two subgroups of consumers (39% and 50%) for whom certain sensory attribute intensity influenced hedonic scores. Partial least squares regression was used to determine the sensory factors driving liking/disliking for the latter two consumer subgroups.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

Low-fat variants of spreadable cheeses are now on the market with different sensory properties and different success. The elimination or reduction of fat modifies the composition and structure of cheeses and alters the original balance among fat, protein, carbohydrates and moisture, often giving rise to perceptible changes in color, flavor and texture. Although, fat reduction may provide consumers with added-value products, the different sensory characteristics of low-fat cheese, compared to its full-fat counterpart, may influence the consumer's response. Identifying the sensory attributes that drive liking/disliking of low-fat cream cheeses, is a key issue guiding new-product development, product improvement and optimization.

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