Effect of labelling and information on consumer sensory acceptance, attitude, and quality ratings of foods labelled as 3D printed

  • Author / Creator
    Feng, Xiaoqin
  • 3D printing technology, also known as additive manufacturing, involves digital construction of a physical structure by depositing materials layer by layer. In the recent few years, 3D printing has expanded to the food sector enabling customized food design and personalized nutrition. Most researchers therefore hold optimistic views of this novel technology. While more research studies have focused on the optimization of, and food development using 3D food printing (3DFP), consumer acceptance, which is an equally important determinant of future market of 3DFP, remains underexplored.
    The primary research objective of this study was to investigate the effect of labelling as 3D printed and product-specific positive information about 3DFP on consumer sensory acceptance of plausible 3D printed foods products. Secondary research objectives were to determine consumer attitude before and after “3D printed” food tasting with presented benefits; the effect of Food Technology Neophobia (FTN) and previous knowledge about 3D printing on overall liking and perceived quality of “3D printed” foods and attitude towards 3D printing; and preference between a food product presented as both conventional and 3D printed. Consumer food choice orientations, familiarity with digital tools, product use behaviors, and opinions of tasted “3D printed” foods were also evaluated.
    A hundred and eighty-six participants participated in one of the chocolate swirl (n = 68), gummy candy carrot (n = 59), and potato Smiles® (n = 59) sensory panels. For each panel, three identical and conventionally produced food samples were presented monadically as conventional, 3D printed, and 3D printed a second time after presentation of product-specific benefits about 3DFP. Participants tasted and evaluated each product presentation for overall liking and liking of appearance, aroma, flavor, and texture on 9-point hedonic scales and perceived quality on 5-point Likert scales. Additionally, consumer attitude towards 3D printing, previous knowledge about 3D printing, FTN, and four consumer constructs (digital native and food choice orientations to health, natural content, and convenience) were assessed. Participants indicated their preference between samples previously presented as conventional and 3D printed and were invited to leave comments for each sample.
    Labelling and information had limited effect on participant sensory attribute acceptance of the foods but resulted in a more positive attitude towards 3D printing. Participants (75–79%) preferred the “3D printed” to the “conventional” chocolate swirls and gummy candy carrots and increased agreement of high perceived quality when the products were first presented as 3D printed. Participant attitude towards 3D printing decreased with higher FTN and was not affected by previous knowledge about 3D printing. Overall, the mostly young and educated population had little knowledge about 3DFP but positive attitude towards 3D printing. Results of this study will contribute to the consumer and sensory science literature about 3DFP and inform 3DFP stakeholders about consumer responses to this novel food technology.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.