XiaoQin Feng | ALES Graduate Seminar

Date(s) - 28/04/2021
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is an ALES MSc Final Exam Seminar by XiaoQin Feng. This seminar is open to the general public to attend.

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Meeting ID: 950 6094 2763

Thesis Topic: Effect of labelling and information on consumer sensory acceptance, attitude, and quality ratings of foods labelled as 3D printed

MSc with Dr. Wendy Wismer

Seminar Abstract:

3D printing technology, also known as additive manufacturing, involves digital construction of a physical structure by depositing materials layer by layer. In the recent few years, 3D printing has expanded to the food sector enabling customized food design and personalized nutrition. Most researchers therefore hold optimistic views of this novel technology. While more research studies have focused on the optimization of and food development using 3D food printing (3DFP), consumer acceptance, which is an equally important determinant of future market of 3DFP, remains underexplored.

The primary research objective of this study was to investigate the effect of labelling as 3D printed and product-specific positive information about 3DFP on consumer sensory acceptance of plausible 3D printed foods products. Secondary research objectives were to determine consumer attitude before and after “3D printed” food tasting with presented benefits; the effect of Food Technology Neophobia (FTN) and previous knowledge about 3D printing on overall liking and perceived quality of “3D printed” foods and attitude towards 3D printing; and paired preference between food products presented as conventional and 3D printed. Consumer food choice orientations, familiarity with digital tools, product use behaviors, and opinions of tasted “3D printed” foods were also evaluated.

A hundred and eighty-six participants participated in one of the chocolate swirl (n = 68), gummy candy carrot (n = 59), and potato Smiles® (n = 59) sensory panels. For each panel, three identical and conventionally produced food samples were presented monadically as conventional, 3D printed, and 3D printed again after presentation of product-specific benefits about 3DFP. Participants tasted and evaluated each product presentation for overall liking and liking of appearance, aroma, flavor, texture on 9-point hedonic scales and perceived quality on 5-point Likert scales. Additionally, consumer attitude towards 3D printing, previous knowledge about 3D printing, FTN, and four consumer constructs (digital native and food choice orientations to health, natural content, convenience) were assessed. Participants indicated their preference between samples presented as conventional and 3D printed and were invited to leave comments for each of three samples.

Labelling and information had limited effect on participant sensory attribute acceptance of the foods but resulted in a more positive attitude towards 3D printing. Participants (75–79%) preferred the “3D printed” to the “conventional” chocolate swirls and gummy candy carrots and increased agreement of high product quality after labelling. Participant attitude decreased with higher FTN and was not affected by previous knowledge about 3D printing. Overall, the mostly young and educated population had little knowledge about 3DFP but positive attitude towards 3D printing. Results of this study will contribute to the consumer and sensory science literature about 3DFP and inform 3DFP stakeholders about consumer responses to this novel food technology.