Sensory Perception and Food-Evoked Emotions of Older Adults Assessing Microwave-Processed Meals with Different Salt Concentrations

Foods. 2024 Feb 19;13(4):631. doi: 10.3390/foods13040631.


This study employed a home-use test to explore the sensory perception and evoked emotions of older adults in the assessment of chicken pasta meals with different salt concentrations. Ready-to-eat (RTE) meals with three salt levels (100%, 75%, and 50%) and two treatments-with and without added herbs-were tested. Multiple sensory attributes and overall meal liking were evaluated by participants (n = 54; 60-86 years of age) with hedonic and just-about-right scores. Twenty-five food-evoked emotions were also tested. Sensory results suggested a 50% salt reduction is possible with minimal impact on the overall liking, while a 25% salt reduction did not affect the saltiness and flavor liking of the meals. Herb addition positively impacted the aroma, flavor, and spiciness liking of the meals. The emotions that differed (p < 0.05) among meals were active, aggressive, bored, calm, happy, and wild, with the meals with herbs added eliciting more positive emotions. A questionnaire elicited information about participants' interest in healthy eating, food technology neophobia, and picky behaviors to determine the influence of these factors on participants' salt consumption habits. Sensory acceptance data combined with questionnaires explored what influenced this group of older adults in their acceptance of and interest in RTE meals.

Keywords: microwave processing; older adults; ready-to-eat-meals; sensory perception.