The right choice at first sight

"Taste circles" make it easier to choose when shopping for bread

Unfortunately sampling a product is seldom possible in today's market place. Trying to pick the desired bread out of the vast assortment of choices is not easy and is often a matter of luck. One of the biggest bakeries in Sweden is now offering some help: three circle pictograms printed on the package help the customers to know what to expect by giving information on such qualities as "sweetness", "sourness", and "richness of taste"....

Research was done at Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology, SIK, on which three qualities would best suit the consumer's needs. Setting up discussion groups, the researchers had the consumers describe what they expected bread to be like and what were the main criteria influencing their buying decisions. In a second step, a trained panel from the research institute developed scales by which the typical sensory attributes of different sorts of bread from the bakery were characterised. For instance, "richness of taste" was gradated, with unseasoned white bread at one end and dark rye bread at the other. The "taste circle" information was supplemented on the package by a brief text describing the taste of the bread. To enable the bakery to characterise new breads in the future, SIK has helped to train the bakery's own "taste council".

SIK representative Halina Agerhem feels that consumers appreciate such information, as it lessens disappointment caused by false choices. It increases consumer awareness of the particular product as distinguished from the mass of similar products, thus heightening consumer interest, while concurrently broadening market potential. "Such additional information on sensory qualities helps a product stand out from the indistinguishable mass of competitors" states Agerhem.



The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology,

Göteborg, Sweden,

Annika Aström

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