Sensory Analysis of Plant-Based Products

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Foods".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2023) | Viewed by 28859

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Nutrition and Dietetics, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6, Canada
Interests: sensory analysis; consumer attitudes; consumer preferences; projective mapping; check-all-that-apply; novel ingredients
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Guest Editor
Department of Food Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
Interests: sensory evaluation; consumer liking; texture perception; healthy aging

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As the Guest Editors of the Special Issue below, I would like to invite you to contribute a paper that focuses on “Sensory Analysis of Plant-Based Products”. Plant-based products are one of the fastest growing segments in the food industry. Consumers have begun to seek out plant-based products for a variety of reasons, including allergies to dairy, hypercholesterolemia prevalence, vegan diets, as well as concerns about sustainability. For new, novel plant-based products to succeed, they need to be functional and acceptable to consumers. Therefore, there is a growing need to develop new plant-based products and the sensory properties of these innovative food products need to be evaluated. This Special Issue will provide a platform to investigate plant-based alternatives and their corresponding sensory properties, as well as consumer perception. Research articles, reviews, and mini-reviews on the various aspects of plant-based products are invited to be submitted.

Dr. Matthew McSweeney
Prof. Dr. Lisa M. Duizer
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Foods is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • plant-based
  • meat alternatives
  • sensory evaluation
  • consumer perception
  • dairy alternatives
  • sensory analysis
  • consumer acceptance
  • alternative protein
  • descriptive analysis
  • food product development

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 1250 KiB  
Article
Sensory Characterization and Acceptability of a New Lulo (Solanum quitoense Lam.) Powder-Based Soluble Beverage Using Rapid Evaluation Techniques with Consumers
by María Remedios Marín-Arroyo and Sofía Marcela González-Bonilla
Foods 2022, 11(19), 3129; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11193129 - 08 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1763
Abstract
Recently, the interest in tropical fruits has increased widely even beyond their production areas, but the perishable nature of these fruits makes their marketing difficult. However, due to its special sensory characteristics and nutritional value, lulo (Solanum quitoense Lam.) is a good [...] Read more.
Recently, the interest in tropical fruits has increased widely even beyond their production areas, but the perishable nature of these fruits makes their marketing difficult. However, due to its special sensory characteristics and nutritional value, lulo (Solanum quitoense Lam.) is a good candidate for product development to meet this ever-growing demand. Therefore, a lulo-powder-based soluble beverage was prepared according to previously established formulations. Thus, the aim of the present research was to obtain the sensory characterization, study consumers’ overall acceptability, and identify drivers of liking for the new beverage. Eight samples were prepared with lulo juice or pulp + stevia, or a sweetener blend (erythritol + xylitol + stevia). Maltodextrin or inulin, as a drying aid, was added to freeze-dry the samples. The freeze-dried samples were rehydrated for consumption. The sensory characterization of the new beverage was carried out by using CATA questions with consumers (n = 69). The most influential attributes that affected acceptability were identified by using ideal product characterization and hedonic scores of the samples. The beverage formulations with stevia alone had the lowest acceptability. Most sensory differences among samples were found between the visual attributes. The attributes “clean”, “homogeneous”, “fruity” and “citrus” odor, “just-right acidity”, “just-right sweetness”, and “fresh” were necessary to increase global acceptance in the juice-only beverages (Js), whereas “cloudy”, “off-odor”, and “very acidic” negatively impacted acceptance. For products with pulp (Ps), “citrus” and “tropical fruit” odors, “just-right acidity”, “just-right sweetness”, and “fresh” attributes were needed to increase acceptance, while “cloudy” and “chemical/artificial” flavors negatively impacted acceptance. The lulo-powder-based soluble beverage was accepted by consumers; however, there is still potential for the sensory-quality improvement of this product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory Analysis of Plant-Based Products)
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27 pages, 684 KiB  
Article
Plant-Based Only: Investigating Consumers’ Sensory Perception, Motivation, and Knowledge of Different Plant-Based Alternative Products on the Market
by Marcel Pointke, Marlene Ohlau, Antje Risius and Elke Pawelzik
Foods 2022, 11(15), 2339; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11152339 - 05 Aug 2022
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 5767
Abstract
Consumer acceptance and product development of sustainable, healthy, and tasty plant-based alternative products (PBAPs) are closely interlinked. However, information on consumer perceptions of the sensory profile of plant-based meat, cheese, and milk remains scarce. The study aimed to investigate German consumers’ (1) sensory [...] Read more.
Consumer acceptance and product development of sustainable, healthy, and tasty plant-based alternative products (PBAPs) are closely interlinked. However, information on consumer perceptions of the sensory profile of plant-based meat, cheese, and milk remains scarce. The study aimed to investigate German consumers’ (1) sensory evaluation of PBAPs and (2) consumers´ motivations and knowledge underlying the purchase of such products. This was analyzed in relation to different dietary styles of consumers (omnivore, flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan). A sample of 159 adults completed two tasks: first, a sensory test in which participants tasted and rated three different PBAPs in two consecutive sessions, and second, a questionnaire on consumption behavior, motivation, and knowledge. Results show few differences between nutrition styles in sensory evaluation of individual product attributes. However, overall liking was rated significantly higher by vegans than by omnivores. All dietary styles reported animal welfare and environmental aspects as the main motivations for consuming PBAPs. Most participants acknowledged that meat and cheese alternatives are highly processed foods and not a fad but are not automatically healthier or more environmentally friendly than their animal-based counterparts. Future research should focus on emerging product segments such as plant-based cheeses to better understand how consumers evaluate PBAPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory Analysis of Plant-Based Products)
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12 pages, 617 KiB  
Article
Consumer Perception and Acceptability of Plant-Based Alternatives to Chicken
by Laurel Ettinger, Anika Falkeisen, Sophie Knowles, Mackenzie Gorman, Sophie Barker, Rachael Moss and Matthew B. McSweeney
Foods 2022, 11(15), 2271; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11152271 - 29 Jul 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5096
Abstract
The prevalence of plant-based alternatives (PBAs) to meat in the marketplace has been increasing in recent years due to consumer demand. One of these plant-based products has aimed to mimic chicken products, specifically chicken nuggets. However, few sensory studies have been conducted on [...] Read more.
The prevalence of plant-based alternatives (PBAs) to meat in the marketplace has been increasing in recent years due to consumer demand. One of these plant-based products has aimed to mimic chicken products, specifically chicken nuggets. However, few sensory studies have been conducted on these products. The objective of this study is to evaluate the sensory properties, acceptability, and consumer perception of these PBAs. Participants (n = 105) were asked to evaluate five PBAs and a control (chicken nugget) using hedonic scales and a check-all-that-apply question. They also answered an open-ended comment question about PBAs. The participants separated the control from the PBAs in terms of their hedonic scores and sensory properties. They separated the PBAs based on their textural properties and if they had off-flavors. Participants disliked PBAs that were associated with an aftertaste, as well as beany, fibrous, and chewy attributes. The participants believed the PBAs currently on the market did not successfully mimic a chicken nugget and that improvement is needed, but they did believe PBAs are environmentally friendly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory Analysis of Plant-Based Products)
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31 pages, 2962 KiB  
Article
Meat Analogues: Relating Structure to Texture and Sensory Perception
by Layla Godschalk-Broers, Guido Sala and Elke Scholten
Foods 2022, 11(15), 2227; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11152227 - 26 Jul 2022
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 6327
Abstract
The transition from animal to plant proteins is booming, and the development of meat analogues or alternatives quickly progressing. However, the acceptance of meat analogues by consumers is still limited, mainly due to disappointing organoleptic properties of these foods. The objective of this [...] Read more.
The transition from animal to plant proteins is booming, and the development of meat analogues or alternatives quickly progressing. However, the acceptance of meat analogues by consumers is still limited, mainly due to disappointing organoleptic properties of these foods. The objective of this study was to investigate possible relationships among structure, textural characteristics, consumer acceptance, and sensory evaluation of commercially available meat analogues. The microstructure and texture of 13 chicken analogue pieces and 14 analogue burgers were evaluated with confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and texture profile analysis (TPA). The moisture of the samples was related to cooking losses and release of liquid upon compression after cooking. Meat products were included as references. A sensory panel (n = 71) evaluated both flavour and texture characteristics. For the chicken analogue pieces, samples with more added fibres had a harder and chewier texture but were less cohesive. No other relations between composition and structure/texture could be found. In the sensory evaluation, lower hardness and chewiness were only seen in products with more fat. A lower sensory hardness was found to be related to the presence of small air pockets. For analogue burgers, there was no clear relation between composition and structure/texture. However, instrumentally measured hardness, chewiness, and cohesiveness correlated well with the corresponding sensory attributes, even though they could not be clearly linked to a structural feature. Next to this, fat content showed a clear correlation to perceived fattiness. CLSM images of burgers with high perceived fattiness showed large areas of fat. Therefore, the release of large fat pools from the meat was most likely responsible for the perception of this attribute. However, perceived fattiness was not related to liking, which was the case also for chicken analogue pieces. For both pieces and burgers, even if some of the measured textural attributes could be linked to the sensory profile, the textural attributes in question could not explain the liking scores. Liking was related to other aspects, such as meaty flavour and juiciness, which were not directly linked to compositional or textural features. Juiciness was not directly related to the moisture loss of the products, indicating that this attribute is rather complex and probably involves a combination of characteristics. These results show that to increase the appreciation of meat analogues by consumers, improving simple texture attributes is not sufficient. Controlling sensory attributes with complex cross-modal perception is probably more important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory Analysis of Plant-Based Products)
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16 pages, 338 KiB  
Article
Lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) Flour Varieties as Promising New Ingredients for Gluten-Free Cookies
by Lívia Hajas, László Sipos, Éva Csajbókné Csobod, Márta Veresné Bálint, Réka Juhász and Csilla Benedek
Foods 2022, 11(14), 2028; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11142028 - 08 Jul 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3153
Abstract
Monotony in a gluten-free (GF) diet can be a challenge because of a limited choice of acceptable cereal sources. This study investigates the potential of five types of differently coloured lentils in the development of GF cookies using rice flour as a reference. [...] Read more.
Monotony in a gluten-free (GF) diet can be a challenge because of a limited choice of acceptable cereal sources. This study investigates the potential of five types of differently coloured lentils in the development of GF cookies using rice flour as a reference. Raw materials (lentil flours) and cookies were characterised in terms of physicochemical parameters (e.g., crude protein content, total phenolics and flavonoids, antioxidant properties, colour, pH); additionally, geometry, baking loss and texture profile were determined for the cookies. A sensory acceptance test was also conducted to find out consumer preferences regarding rice versus different lentil cookies. Results showed that lentil cookies were superior to rice control in terms of higher crude protein (12.1–14.8 vs. 3.8 g/100 g), phenolic (136.5–342.3 vs. 61.5 mg gallic acid equivalents/100 g) and flavonoid (23.8–75.9 vs. 13.1 mg catechin equivalents/100 g) content and antioxidant capacity (0.60–1.81 vs. 0.35 mmol trolox equivalents/100 g), as well as lower hydroxymethyl-furfural content (<1 vs. 26.2 mg/kg). Consumers preferred lentil cookies to rice ones (overall liking: 6.1–7.0 vs. 5.6, significant differences for red and brown lentils), liking especially their taste (6.3–7.0 vs. 5.5). Depending on the target parameter, whether physicochemical or sensory, these lentil flours can be promising raw materials for GF bakery products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory Analysis of Plant-Based Products)
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Review

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18 pages, 348 KiB  
Review
A Prospective Review of the Sensory Properties of Plant-Based Dairy and Meat Alternatives with a Focus on Texture
by Rachael Moss, Jeanne LeBlanc, Mackenzie Gorman, Christopher Ritchie, Lisa Duizer and Matthew B. McSweeney
Foods 2023, 12(8), 1709; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12081709 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 5037
Abstract
Consumers are interested in plant-based alternatives (PBAs) to dairy and meat products, and as such, the food industry is responding by developing a variety of different plant-based food items. For these products to be successful, their textural properties must be acceptable to consumers. [...] Read more.
Consumers are interested in plant-based alternatives (PBAs) to dairy and meat products, and as such, the food industry is responding by developing a variety of different plant-based food items. For these products to be successful, their textural properties must be acceptable to consumers. These textural properties need to be thoroughly investigated using different sensory methodologies to ensure consumer satisfaction. This review paper aims to summarize the various textural properties of PBAs, as well as to discuss the sensory methodologies that can be used in future studies of PBAs. PBAs to meat have been formulated using a variety of production technologies, but these products still have textural properties that differ from animal-based products. Most dairy and meat alternatives attempt to mimic their conventional counterparts, yet sensory trials rarely compare the PBAs to their meat or dairy counterparts. While most studies rely on consumers to investigate the acceptability of their products’ textural properties, future studies should include dynamic sensory methodologies, and attribute diagnostics questions to help product developers characterize the key sensory properties of their products. Studies should also indicate whether the product is meant to mimic a conventional product and should define the target consumer segment (ex. flexitarian, vegan) for the product. The importance of textural properties to PBAs is repeatedly mentioned in the literature and thus should be thoroughly investigated using robust sensory methodologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory Analysis of Plant-Based Products)
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