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Expectations and acceptability of diabetic and reduced-calorie milk chocolates among nondiabetics and diabetics in the U.S.A

Melo, Lauro, Childs, Jessica L., Drake, Maryanne, Bolini, Helena Maria Andre, Efraim, Priscilla
Journal of sensory studies 2010 v.25 no.s1 pp. 133-152
bulking agents, cocoa butter, consumer acceptance, labeling, lactitol, milk chocolate, product development, product evaluation, protein concentrates, prototypes, stevioside, sucralose, sucrose, whey protein
Consumer expectations and acceptance of six laboratory-developed prototypes of milk chocolate were evaluated by conjoint analysis and consumer acceptance testing with nondiabetics (n = 103 conjoint, n = 75 acceptance) and diabetics (n = 68 for conjoint, n = 71 acceptance). A conventional laboratory-developed chocolate was produced with sucrose. Diabetic laboratory-developed chocolates were made with a substitution of sucrose with high-intensity sweeteners, sucralose or stevioside, and a polydextrose/lactitol blend as a bulking agent. Diabetic/reduced-calorie milk chocolates were manufactured with an additional partial replacement of cocoa butter with whey protein concentrate. Sugar claim attribute was more important to diabetics than to nondiabetics; within this attribute, reduced sugar and sugar-free levels were more important to diabetics, while sugar-free was more important to nondiabetics. There was no difference for sweetener type and calorie reduction between the two groups. Differences in acceptance means (P < 0.05) for conventional, diabetic and diabetic/reduced-calorie milk chocolates (especially for samples made with stevioside) were documented within nondiabetic and diabetic consumers and between the two consumer groups. All samples were different across nondiabetic and diabetic consumers regarding overall liking. These results demonstrate that alternative products must be developed and labeled according to the specific consumer groups they are intended to address. This study indicated which levels of sugar claim, sweetener type and calorie reduction should be used depending on whom - nondiabetics or diabetics - diabetic/reduced-calorie milk chocolates are being developed. Conjoint analysis is very important for development of new products because it allows for understanding which characteristics are most important prior to actual evaluation of products. Consumer testing using nondiabetic and diabetic consumers was helpful to validate the expectations determined through conjoint analysis with experimental samples.