Sensory profile and acceptance of maize tortillas by rural and urban consumers in Mexico

J Sci Food Agric. 2022 Apr;102(6):2300-2308. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.11568. Epub 2021 Oct 23.


Background: Maize tortillas are the staple food of Mexico and their consumption contributes to preserving the gastronomic patrimony and food security of the population. The aim of the present study was to generate a reference sensory profile for different types of tortillas and to evaluate the effect that these sensory characteristics have on consumer liking and how this influences their consumption preferences and purchase intent. Three types of maize tortillas were analyzed: traditional (T1), combined (T2) and industrialized (T3). The samples were characterized using the modified flash profile method. Sensory acceptability and preference tests were conducted on 240 urban and rural consumers.

Results: The judges characterized 19 attributes in the tortilla samples, eight of which were also identified by consumers. In the case of traditional tortillas, the matching attributes were maize flavor, color, thickness and moisture. Only rural consumers were able to perceive significant differences between the samples in terms of aroma and taste/flavor. The study has contributed to understanding the complex mechanisms of sensory acceptance through the use of tools that combine qualitative and quantitative data.

Conclusion: Although 56% of rural and urban consumers prefer traditional tortillas for their sensory characteristics, purchase intent is also affected by socioeconomic, cultural and microbiological factors. © 2021 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: food preferences; modified flash profile; rural and urban consumers; sensory attributes; tortilla.

MeSH terms

  • Bread*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Food Preferences
  • Humans
  • Mexico
  • Taste
  • Zea mays* / chemistry