Reduced fat products - Consumer perceptions and preferences
Dietary guidelines consistently advocate the reduction of fat in the diet and the food industry has responded by introducing a vast range of reduced fat foods on to the market. However, reduced fat diets are difficult for people to maintain. Nutrition education is at a critical crossroads, such that consumers have received the message to reduce fat in the diet, but are unable or unwilling to comply with this information so that overall health status can be improved. Better understanding of the factors that influence fat intake will help to explain why dietary change is so difficult to sustain. Sensory studies and focus group discussions were conducted with consumers to assess their perceptions, acceptance and preferences for reduced fat products. The results implied that consumers associate reduced fat foods with inferior sensory properties and perceive them with a degree of scepticism and mistrust.