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What Do Laboratory Preference Tests Tell Us About Real Life (Operational) Preferences: A Preliminary Investigation

Halim, Jeremia, Sinaga, Wenny S.L., Hu, Rui, Sebastian, Albert, O'Mahony, Michael
Food quality and preference 2019
cassava, laboratory experimentation, prediction
In Part 1, 115 consumers were required to perform actionable ‘choosing’ preference tests which included ‘no preference’ options, between original and barbecue flavored cassava chips, in laboratory conditions. Double-DTM preference tests, ‘Strict’ paired preference tests (only choose A, never choose B), and ‘Lenient’ paired preference tests (choose A more than B) were used. In Part 2, consumers were required to indicate which of the two chips they would choose if presented with both, in real life conditions, on nine testing weeks during the following three months. Real life conditions present different extraneous variables. Considering the sample of consumers as a whole, a slight preference for the original flavored chips noted in all three tests in Part 1 was continued for all nine testing weeks in Part 2. Considering individual consumers, the largest group continued to choose the chips they had chosen in Part 1 for all nine testing weeks. The second largest group changed their preference in the first week and then stayed constant for the following eight weeks. This could suggest that a change in extraneous variables might be a trigger for preference change. Considering only consumers who changed their preferences, the majority changed between 1–3 times.The tendency for change was low. Consumers who had declared ‘no preference’ changed to exhibit preference behavior. A fourth preference test method was used in Part 1. This was a numerical bipolar rating scale for likelihood to choose. However, it lacked sufficient precision in its predictions for any usefulness.