Sensory Acceptability and Proximate Composition of 3-Blend Plant-Based Dairy Alternatives

Foods. 2021 Feb 24;10(3):482. doi: 10.3390/foods10030482.

Abstract

Limitations of plant-based dairy alternatives as sustainable foods are their relatively low protein content and low sensory appeal. In this study, we used a consumer-led product development approach to improve the sensory appeal of existing prototypes of 3-blend dairy alternatives produced from melon seeds, peanuts and coconut. We used Relative Preference Mapping (RPM) and consumer acceptance testing using the 9-point hedonic scale to respectively identify innovative flavours and deduce the effect of ingredient components on consumer sensory appeal. Mixture design was used as the formulation tool to obtain optimized prototypes of the 3-blend dairy alternatives. Proximate analysis of the new prototypes, instrumental color assessment and consumer testing provided a basis to select a sustainable 3-blend dairy alternative. This prototype had a relatively high protein content (2.16%), was considered innovative by target consumers and also had a moderate liking score (6.55 ± 1.88) on the 9-point hedonic scale. Prototypes with higher protein content had low sensory appeal and were not considered innovative. Other prototypes with innovative sensory appeal had low protein content. By combining different plant raw materials and utilizing different sensory testing methods, we were able to design sustainable plant-based dairy alternatives which can be further optimized.

Keywords: consumer acceptance; innovation; plant-based dairy alternatives; sustainable foods.