“Best if Used By …” How Freshness Dating Influences Food Acceptance

Authors

  • Brian Wansink,

    1. Author Wansink is the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and of Nutritional Science in the Applied Economics and Management Dept. of Cornell Univ., 110 Warren Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-7801, 607-255-5024. Author Wright is with Sensory Lab Director, US Army Natick Soldier Center. Natick, MA 01760-5020, 508-233-4522. Direct inquiries to author Wansink (E-mail: Wansink@Cornell.edu).
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  • Alan O. Wright

    1. Author Wansink is the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and of Nutritional Science in the Applied Economics and Management Dept. of Cornell Univ., 110 Warren Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-7801, 607-255-5024. Author Wright is with Sensory Lab Director, US Army Natick Soldier Center. Natick, MA 01760-5020, 508-233-4522. Direct inquiries to author Wansink (E-mail: Wansink@Cornell.edu).
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Abstract

ABSTRACT:  A recent variation of expiration dating is freshness dating (i.e., “best if used by”). This research investigates how freshness dating influences the taste acceptance of a refrigerated product. Sensory tests of 36 panelists show two key findings. First, freshness dating influences the acceptability of products in a discontinuous or nonlinear manner. Second, it does so because it influences perceptions of freshness and of healthfulness, not of safety. As a product approaches its “best if used by” date, there may be more for a manufacturer to lose than to gain by having decided to use “freshness dating” in the first place.

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