Comparison of the consumers expected and actual perception of food investigated by napping: a case study with béarnaise sauce
Conference contribution, 2013
The purpose of this study was to investigate consumers’ expected and actual perception of food, using packages of béarnaise sauce and actual products. In total six packages of béarnaise sauce were evaluated, whereas seven products were presented, including one tested twice. A naïve consumer panel of 15 assessors, 8 female and 7 male, with children living at home were recruited and selected by their preferences and buying patterns of béarnaise sauce, as well as their anticipated emotional and rational personality. The results of the consumer panel were compared with those of an analytical sensory panel.
A further goal was to use innovative techniques to gain additional insight on the consumers’ perception of food. Global Napping was performed with the consumer panel on their expected preferences and partial Napping was conducted to evaluate their perceptions of the actual products. The Napping data were complemented with preference tests and rankings. The consumers were also asked to connect the tasted products to the packages. An analytical sensory panel performed partial Napping of the products. A new evaluation method of the resulting Napping data was introduced using Euclidian distances on individual tablecloths, which enable a much more user-friendly interpretation of the data.
The results showed that there is a large difference between consumers’ expected and actual perceptions of the package and the actual product. Data also indicate that the more rational thinking consumers were less manipulated or influenced compared to the emotional ones. The analytical sensory panel was a group of high agreement and homogeneity, while the consumer panel showed great differences in their experiences of the packages as well as the products. Consumers who usually bought a certain product could not necessarily distinguish it from the other options; neither did they rate it as their first choice.