© 2020 Elsevier Ltd With current global challenges such as population growth, climate change and water scarcity, it is critical to develop sustainable strategies to achieve food security. One way to tackle this is by developing new products that use alternative and more sustainable ingredients. Bambara groundnut is a low-impact African legume as it can be grown on marginal soils and is resistant to high temperatures. The aim of this study was to investigate UK consumer acceptability and emotional response to snack products containing Bambara groundnut flour as an alternative sustainable ingredient. A key objective was to understand the contribution that measuring emotional response would reveal. Additionally the impact of extrinsic information on consumer acceptability and emotional response to snack products was investigated by sharing information concerning Bambara groundnut's sustainability and nutritional credentials. 100 UK participants were recruited to evaluate two biscotti and two cracker products. For each category a standard product made from standard ingredients sourced commercially, and one made replacing some of standard flour with Bambara flour were obtained. For each sample, participants were asked to rate their overall liking and emotional response based on sensory properties of the product (the blind condition). Participants were invited back for a second session, where they were informed about global resource challenges, and the sustainable features and nutritional value of Bambara, and which products contained this as an ingredient (informed condition). Under the blind condition, no significant differences in overall liking were observed between standard and Bambara products, indicating UK consumers accept the sensory properties of products that contain Bambara flour. Interestingly, the extrinsic information shifted consumer emotional response towards more positive emotions and less negative emotions when consuming products containing Bambara flour. It also made them felt less guilty when consuming the Bambara products, suggesting consumers engage with the idea of sustainable ingredients, and that this sustainable ingredient has potential for future new product development. It also highlighted the value of measuring emotional response for novel products to understand what may drive purchase behaviour when products are matched for liking. Food neophobia status did not impact product acceptability and emotional response between Bambara and standard products, however overall a lower emotional response was found for medium neophobic consumers in general who are more likely to evade novel products.
Yang, Q., Shen, Y., Foster, T., & Hort, J. (2020). Measuring consumer emotional response and acceptance to sustainable food products. Food Research International, 131, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2020.108992