Consumers perceive the sensory characteristics of extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs), but they are not always able to relate the positive sensory attributes to the presence of healthy substances (e.g., polyphenols) and, in general, to appreciate the overall quality of the oils. In the present work, consumers’ preferences and influence of information concerning the agricultural production method on consumer behaviour were investigated. EVOO samples were evaluated in terms of sensory attributes, basic chemical parameters, volatile and phenolic molecules. The results showed that the majority of the interviewed consumers appreciated “fruity” attribute, but disliked what they perceived as bitterness. Organic farming information did not affect their judgment. The chemical and sensory analyses confirmed the relationships between the presence of minor compounds and the positive sensory attributes; positive correlations were found among bitter, pungent vs. decarboxymethyl oleuropein aglycone (ranging from 23.8 to 143.8 mg kg−1) and decarboxymethyl ligstroside aglycone, as well as between green notes and the volatile compound 1-penten-3-ol (C5-LOX alcohols, 0.1–0.9 mg kg−1). Nevertheless, consumers seemed indifferent to the more health-promoting EVOOs, preferring an “uneducated” sweeter taste. This result points to the need for much more consumer education concerning “genuine” and “native” taste of extra virgin olive oil and its health-related properties.

Do consumers recognize the positive sensorial attributes of extra virgin olive oils related with their composition? A case study on conventional and organic products

BARBIERI, SARA;BENDINI, ALESSANDRA;VALLI, ENRICO;GALLINA TOSCHI, TULLIA
2015

Abstract

Consumers perceive the sensory characteristics of extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs), but they are not always able to relate the positive sensory attributes to the presence of healthy substances (e.g., polyphenols) and, in general, to appreciate the overall quality of the oils. In the present work, consumers’ preferences and influence of information concerning the agricultural production method on consumer behaviour were investigated. EVOO samples were evaluated in terms of sensory attributes, basic chemical parameters, volatile and phenolic molecules. The results showed that the majority of the interviewed consumers appreciated “fruity” attribute, but disliked what they perceived as bitterness. Organic farming information did not affect their judgment. The chemical and sensory analyses confirmed the relationships between the presence of minor compounds and the positive sensory attributes; positive correlations were found among bitter, pungent vs. decarboxymethyl oleuropein aglycone (ranging from 23.8 to 143.8 mg kg−1) and decarboxymethyl ligstroside aglycone, as well as between green notes and the volatile compound 1-penten-3-ol (C5-LOX alcohols, 0.1–0.9 mg kg−1). Nevertheless, consumers seemed indifferent to the more health-promoting EVOOs, preferring an “uneducated” sweeter taste. This result points to the need for much more consumer education concerning “genuine” and “native” taste of extra virgin olive oil and its health-related properties.
Barbieri, S.; Bendini, A.; Valli, E.; Gallina Toschi, T.
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