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Fruit and snack consumption related to sweet, sour and salty taste preferences

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Purpose ‐ To better understand fruit consumption and its determinants this paper aims to explore the relationship between the consumption of different types of fruit and other snacks and consumer taste preferences for sweet, salty and sour is explored. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Respondents (n=2,083) from Poland, Greece, Spain and The Netherlands filled out an online questionnaire in which the consumption of fresh fruit, sweet snacks, salty snacks, orange juice and dried fruit was measured as well as consumer self-reported taste preferences and personal orientations towards health, convenience, price and routine behaviours. Findings ‐ A total of 29 percent of the total sample preferred salty tastes, whereas 21 percent preferred sweet tastes; 1 percent preferred sour tastes, and 39 percent indicated no preference. In contrast with the expectation that people who preferred sweet tastes consume more fruits and fruit products, the results imply that consumers with a sour taste preference consume more fruits and fruit products. In addition, consumers with a sour taste preference seem to be less convenience-oriented and have more routine behaviours with regard to fruit. In contrast, consumers with a sweet taste preference eat more chocolate bars and are more convenience-oriented. Research limitations/implications ‐ The self-reported measurement of taste preferences requires further justification to be used as a measurement instrument, e.g. formulation of the items, different cultures and linkage with preferences based on sensory testing. Practical implications ‐ These findings show that the sweet tooth hypothesis is much more complicated if we consider not only consumption, but also self-reported taste preferences. Originality/value ‐ The paper explores self-reported taste preferences, the sweet tooth hypotheses and fruit consumption.

Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Consumption; Convenience foods; Fruit consumption; Fruits; Salt; Sour; Sweet tooth; Taste preference

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-06-29

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