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Harmonizing Sensory Attributes with Nutrition Claims and Emotional Benefits for Ready-To-Eat Cereals: A Case Study
G. CIVILLE (1), A. Retivaeu-Krogmann (1), E. Toronto-Doyle (1), I. Koelliker (1) (1) Sensory Spectrum, Inc., New Providence, NJ, U.S.A..

What is for breakfast today? For many households, the unequivocal answer has been and continues to be: “cereals”. While ready-to-eat cereals provide a quick, easy and convenient way to start the day (and occasionally end it…), they are also relatively low in calories, and full of nutrients. In most western countries where diet-related chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity and type II diabetes are especially concerning, RTE cereals are perceived by many as a healthier alternative to other breakfast and snack options. But are all RTE cereals created equal? More specifically, do consumers’ expectations differ for RTE cereals made with different grain types? As the category expands beyond the more traditional grains (wheat, corn, oat, rice) to include more ancient grains, such as barley, millet or quinoa, what sensory, nutritional, functional and emotional benefits do consumers now expect?   Through a series of consumer and sensory studies, this very question was investigated.  Results highlight where consumer expectations and sensory experience align, and where gaps currently exist between expectations of benefits based on concept, visual and actual product experience, allowing food manufacturers to devise strategies for product development and ensuring stronger alignment between product positioning and sensory experience.

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