The constant fight against aging increases the demand for products that have the potential to promote health. Dark-pigmented fruits such as blackberries, blueberries and Concord grapes show potential to fulfill this demand. Four techniques (response surface, ideal point, desirability function and intuition) were used to optimize a mixture of blackberry, blueberry and Concord grape juice based on sensory and potential health properties. Participants (n = 108) evaluated 10 blending treatments for overall impression on the 9-point verbal hedonic scale and ideal intensities of attributes on the ideal point scale. In a validation study (n = 78), the juice blend formulated using the desirability function solution (87% Concord + 13% blackberry) had the highest overall liking mean (7.6), although it was not statistically different from the ideal point solution (9% blackberry + 20% blueberry + 71% Concord) (7.0), the intuitive optimum (66% Concord + 34% blueberry) (6.9) or 100% Concord (7.3). When consumers were informed about the anthocyanin content of the juices, they were more likely to buy the three juice samples highest in anthocyanins and less likely to buy the two juice samples lowest in anthocyanins. This suggests that pursuing research that validates the health information and informing consumers of this information could have positive results in the marketplace.
During product development, sensory properties are heavily emphasized as important factors in the final product. However, the impact of potential health properties on purchase intent and consumer liking should be considered. Approaches that investigated the role of both sensory properties and presence of potentially health beneficial compounds in product optimization are presented.