Complexity is an important parameter in the food industry because of its relationship with hedonic appreciation. However, difficulties are encountered when measuring complexity. The hypothesis of this study was that sensory descriptive analysis is an effective tool for deriving terms to measure adolescents' perception of complexity of pictures of fruit and vegetable mixes. A sensory panel evaluated 10 descriptive attributes, including simplicity and complexity, for 24 pictures of fruit and vegetable mixes. The descriptive analysis found strong inverse correlation between complexity and simplicity. An adolescent consumer group (n = 242) and an adult consumer group (n = 86) subsequently rated the pictures on simplicity and attractiveness. Pearson's correlation coefficients revealed strong correlations between the sensory panel and both consumer groups' usage of simplicity. This suggests that simplicity can be used to measure perceived complexity. In relation to attractiveness, different optimal levels of simplicity of pictures of fruit mixes were found for segments of the adolescent consumer group.
These results potentially extend the applications of the sensory descriptive analysis procedure as it was found to be an effective tool to derive a term to measure adolescents' perception of complexity for pictures of food. This method can also be potentially extended to other types of stimuli. This method is thought to be extended to other situations where terms are needed to measure other consumer groups' perception of challenging parameters. For food practitioners, this gives new opportunities to measure important but challenging parameters.