Onderwerp scriptie

Consumer Behaviour and Food Quality

In the production and supply chain the quality of food products is controlled to keep it at an optimal level. However after the product is purchased by the consumer, it has to be stored and prepared before actual consumption takes place. In this last part of the chain the quality can deteriorate due to product handling processes by the consumer.

Topic 1. The Consumer’s Perception and Preference toward Dried Tropical Fruit and Its Products.

There is a potential market for dried fruits shown by relevant consumer studies in Europe performed by (Jesionkowska et al., 2008) and (Sijtsema et al., 2012). It is revealed that breakfast cereals were one of the most frequently consumed products containing dried fruits by Dutch, French and Polish consumers. Apart from that, cookies were popular among Dutch, muesli bar among French, and fruit tea among Polish consumers (Jesionkowska et al., 2009). It would be of interest to find out the consumer’s perception and preference toward dried fruits added to various types of products.
The quality perception of dehydrated/dried fruit products by consumers differs from one type to another end product, such as dried fruit as a single product, mixed with nuts or breakfast cereals, within snack or confectionery. This is especially due to the way the product will be used (consumed in dry-state or rehydrate first) (Lewicki, 2006) and the characteristics of other ingredients.

Therefore, it will be of interest to conduct a consumer study to find out about the consumer’s perception and preference toward dried fruit as a single products or when added to various types of food products. Sensory evaluation maybe used to complement the consumer study.

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References
JESIONKOWSKA, K., SIJTSEMA, S., SIMONEAUX, R., KONOPACKA, D. & PLOCHARSKI, W. 2008. Preferences and consumption of dried fruit and dried fruit products among Dutch, French and Polish consumers. Journal of Fruit and Ornamental Plant Research, 16, 261-274.
LEWICKI, P. P. 2006. Design of hot air drying for better foods. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 17, 153-163.
SIJTSEMA, S. J., JESIONKOWSKA, K., SYMONEAUX, R., KONOPACKA, D. & SNOEK, H. 2012. Perceptions of the health and convenience characteristics of fresh and dried fruits. 49, 275-281.

For more information please contact Ita Sulistyawati.

Topic 2. Consumer Behaviour and Food Quality.

Hardly any research is done on consumer handling and practices at home with food products. How are products stored and prepared and how do these practices influence the final product quality. In order to gain more insight into these behaviours, consumer research in daily life situations is needed to understand practices and motives behind these practices. The research methods used will be in home observations and interviewing consumers. With lab analysis the influence of the consumer behaviour on the final, consumed quality can be assessed.
When these final steps in the food production-consumption chain are taken into account during product design, possible quality loss can be prevented by anticipating on the behaviour of the consumer.
This type of research needs to be done with all food products, according to the students’ own preferences: e.g. vegetables (including new products like sea weeds), dairy, meat, meat replacers (incl. insects), convenience products etc. Examples of products recently studied are broccoli and carrots as part of a hot meal. Also the influence of in home behavior on the quality of ready-to-eat meals has been studied.
The aim of the project will be to generate knowledge that can be used to improve product design and/or to inform consumers about more appropriate food handling.
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For more information please contact Bea Steenbekkers.

Topic 3. Consumer attitudes and willingness to consume processed cape gooseberry products (Dutch case study).

Cape gooseberry is a promising fruit given its functional properties and fruit characteristics, which make it a good raw material for numerous products such as juices, jam, pulp, desserts, dehydrated fruit, oil, etc. Therefore, those processed products have been entered into the market to give an added value to the supply chain. The market for these processed products, however, currently is local and despite an interest by international markets there is a need to improve the knowledge about consumer willingness to repeatedly purchase these new products.

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Aim
Assess consumer attitudes of Dutch people and willingness of consumption of cape gooseberry new products.

For more information please contact Mary Luz Olivares Tenorio.

Topic 4. Consumer preferences and perceptions of Cape gooseberry in relation with health-promoting compounds contents (Dutch case study)

Cape gooseberry is an important commodity in Colombia because of its second place in fruit exports after banana and plantain. Activities to further develop export markets are essential.  So far, some barriers have been identified in the chain, such as, lack of information about the fruit and its properties as well as about the processed product as well as lack of knowledge about quality-attributes, preferences and expectations of consumers. Although, studies and reviews have been published on cape gooseberry properties, there is still a considerable gap of understanding about its quality attributes. Therefore, to carry out a proper research on quality attributes definitions and preferences through the supply chain is essential.

Aim
Evaluate Dutch consumer preferences and perceptions of Cape gooseberry fruit in relation with health-promoting compounds knowledge.

For more information please contact Mary Luz Olivares Tenorio.

Topic 5.  Preferences on quality-attributes of European (or Dutch) actor of supply chain of cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana L.)


The Cape gooseberry is a very important fruit for Colombia, given its international demand. The supply chain, however, still faces some barriers due to, among other factors, the lack of knowledge of consumer and buyer preferences. The market context in terms of quality attributes of the fruit and their importance in the purchase decision of chain actors is not clear. For this reason this project proposes to investigate the quality-attributes of Cape gooseberry and their importance for actors in the chain who have a purchasing role (importers, distributers, exporters, supermarkets).

Aim
Set up a list of contacts of European actor of supply chain and assess quality-attributes preference on cape gooseberry.

For more information please contact Mary Luz Olivares Tenorio.

Topic 6. Preferences on quality-attributes of European (or Dutch) actor of supply chain of cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana L.).

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The Cape gooseberry is a very important fruit for Colombia, given its international demand. The supply chain, however, still faces some barriers due to, among other factors, the lack of knowledge of consumer and buyer preferences. The market context in terms of quality attributes of the fruit and their
importance in the purchase decision of chain actors is not clear. For this reason this project proposes to investigate the qualityattributes of Cape gooseberry and their importance for actors in the chain who have a purchasing role (importers, distributers, exporters, supermarkets).

Aim

Set up a list of contacts of European actor of supply chain and assess quality-attributes preference on cape gooseberry.



Topic 7. Influence of preparation practices on quality of seaweed.

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A combined thesis project together with a BBC/MME student is possible.
In times of global food shortage there is a growing demand to find unused food sources and use them. For the Netherlands seaweed seems to be a good choice as it is grown in the sea which is an underexploited source of food products.

It is however not known to which extent preparation practices influence the nutritional value of the different seaweed products. Research should be done on consumer preparation practices and the influence on quality of these seaweeds, to be able to give instructions for preparation that lead to the best quality of the consumed product.

Seaweed prepared.PNG


Aim

Assess influence of preparation practices on nutritional value of seaweeds.

Topic 8. Barriers for Reformulating Food Products for Health.

Many consumers have an interest in healthy/healthier food products. In order to make product purchase choices for consumers easier with respect to health aspects of foods health logos have been developed, e.g. in the Netherlands by the Choices logo or “Vinkjes”. In order to put such a logo on the front of pack of products, they have to meet strict criteria for e.g. salt, added sugar, fat composition, fiber content and energy density. This logo aims at enabling healthier food choices for consumers, but also at stimulating food companies to develop healthier products that meet the requirements of these logos.
This project aims at understanding the technological and other barriers that companies perceive when implementing these criteria in various product categories and to compare this with possible solutions by looking at the state of the art in the scientific literature and other solutions e.g. related to regulation.

The project will be in collaboration with the Choices logo foundation.

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