In a study related to Food science and consumer acceptance in Norway the researchers have found out that, consumers react differently then do experts to cheese.
The food compared was cheese and the opinions of consumers were compared with expert dairy assessors. The rating was based on reaction of consumers and quality scores by experts.
There was difference of opinion in both factions. As a result, researchers highlight the importance of recognizing differences between these two groups, and particularly in giving more weight to the opinions of the consumer when determining food quality standards.
As the samples were 12 Norwegian cheeses which were evaluated by five expert individuals. These experts professionally predict the likelihood of consumer rejection of a product.
This followed the five selected cheeses being evaluated by 110 consumers.
The sensory characters rated were overall liking of the cheeses, flavour intensity and degree of soft or firm texture.
A startling finding was that one of the cheeses scored lowest overall by the experts was scored higher among one consumer segment. The reason attributed was some consumers actually favoured certain characteristics of flavour or texture considered to be defects in the cheeses by the assessors. This is why experts and consumers rate differently one has the primary criterion of taste while other rate it scientifically.
"It is important to study consumer responses to food products and to check the results against defined quality standards and tolerance limits," according to Margrethe Hersleth of the Norwegian Food Research Institute.
On a bright note she concluded, "Hopefully, food companies will pay more attention to consumer responses during establishment and evaluation of quality standards. It is important to do more research on methods for obtaining sensory specifications with consumer input."