For the survey, 81 consumers gave an overall rating, the intensity of sensorial attributes and the freshness level of salad samples during shelf-life. The sensorial attributes were considered at day 0, 3, 7 and 9 of shelf-life.
The freshness was evaluated by consumers both "informed" and "not informed" on the product. Furthermore, consumers have filled in a questionnaire, in which they rated the importance of six attributes (appearance, freshness, organic certified, brand, expiration date, package transparency) known to be fundamental for the fresh-cut product choice.
The relationships among the sensorial attributes, significantly influenced by the shelf-life, showed that both the perceived freshness and the overall liking are directly related to the appearance, in terms of leaf green, assortment salad and leaf turgidity. The level of perceived freshness, the expiration date and appearance were confirmed to be the most important factors in determining the consumers choice for fresh-cut products.
Moreover, two consumer typologies resulted from the survey:
- "information oriented" consumers wish to have information on the product, thus it is important to have a label stating nutritional data, sustainable production system, ethical values, etc.;
- "sensorial quality oriented" consumers are attracted by sensorial attributes, thus they wish to see the content of the package in terms of appearance and assortment.
The scientists conclude that different strategies could be used to promote the purchase of fresh-cut salad according to consumer segments
Source: Dinnella C., Torri L., Caporale G., Monteleone E., "An exploratory study of sensory attributes and consumer traits underlying liking for and perceptions of freshness for ready to eat mixed salad leaves in Italy", 2014, Food Research International, Vol. 59, page. 108-116. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0963996914001082