Friday, March 27, 2015

Manufacturing and food quality perception by consumer

The quality of a consumer product has two very different components. The manufacturer may believe that he is increasing the quality of a product by adding more meat to a meat pie or using fresh not frozen vegetable in formulating a quiche.

However is the consumer able to discriminate between standard and quality improved product and are they motivated by the proposition of such a quality improvement? This is the essence of the challenge when conducting sensory analysis: what are the sensory characteristics which translate into a perception of quality by the consumer that may increase propensity to purchase?

Although some work has been done in this area, it is still poorly understood. Ideally what is needed is a framework for product developer that does not need to be continually verified by expensive consumer research.

Along the food chain, manufacturers want to understand how to select raw materials that will impart the desired quality characteristics to the finished product. Although some raw materials characteristics can be linked, there is a general lack of understanding of how subtle differences in raw material can profoundly affect product quality.

Despite decades of research, there is still much to be learnt about impact of subtle changes have an effect is certain but molecular basis for this is far from clear. Understanding what is going on at a molecular level would allow either for a more informed selection of raw material or for an intervention in process that was dependent on the raw material feed quality.

Other examples include understanding what it is that causes milk functionality to change during spring flush. Despite little change in the gross composition, the functionality can change dramatically. Why?

When we tender steak, is there a better way of selecting it other than specifying which cut or measuring a textural characteristic? Is there a biochemical marker that translates into tenderness? Can we have meat that is both tender and flavorsome?
Manufacturing and food quality perception by consumer 

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