Exposure, health information and flavour-masking strategies for improving the sensory quality of probiotic juice

Appetite. 2006 Nov;47(3):315-23. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2006.04.006. Epub 2006 Jul 20.


Probiotics are live microbial food supplements, which have been shown to exert numerous health benefits. Research has identified that probiotics cause perceptible off-flavours that often contribute to consumer dissatisfaction. This research consisted of three objectives. Firstly, to confirm whether probiotics have a significant effect on the sensory quality and the consumer acceptance of juices. Secondly, to evaluate whether the addition of tropical juices masks probiotic off-flavours, thereby increasing consumer liking. Thirdly, to determine whether non-sensory factors (i.e., repeated exposure, and health information) have an impact on consumer liking. Three orange juice products were manufactured for analysis; Control juice, juice containing probiotics, and juice containing probiotics and tropical fruit juices (10% v/v). Descriptive sensory analysis using a trained panel (n=8) determined that probiotic juices possessed unique 'medicinal' characteristics. Using labelled affective magnitude scales, consumers (n=116) evaluated their 'overall liking' of the three juices in a randomised order in the laboratory. Once assigned into one of three balanced exposure groups, each consumer took home seven, 100mL bottles of one of the juices, and consumed one bottle each day for 7 days. After each in-home consumption, consumers evaluated their 'overall liking' to familiarize themselves with the juice. Furthermore, half of the consumers were provided with information about the presence and the health benefits of probiotics, while the other half of consumers received no information. After 7 days of in-home usage, consumers returned to the laboratory for post-exposure sensory testing, where they re-evaluated their 'overall liking' of the three juices in a randomised order. Results showed that tropical juices were effective in masking the off-flavours associated with probiotic ingredients, and that consumer liking for the probiotic juice containing tropical juice flavours was maintained over the 7-day exposure period. Exposure and information had significant effects on the 'overall liking' of juices containing probiotic cultures. A significant interaction between exposure and information was observed. Therefore, exposure, health information and flavour-masking techniques can have a positive effect on the hedonic qualities of probiotic juices.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Beverages* / microbiology
  • Choice Behavior
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Female
  • Flavoring Agents* / microbiology
  • Food Labeling*
  • Food Microbiology / standards
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Lactobacillus / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Probiotics*
  • Research Design
  • Taste*


  • Flavoring Agents