Plant-based alternatives vs dairy milk: Consumer segments and their sensory, emotional, cognitive and situational use responses to tasted products

Armand V. Cardello, Fabien Llobell, Davide Giacalone, Christina M. Roigard, Sara R. Jaeger*


Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Plant-based alternatives to dairy milk are becoming more popular in many parts of the world. The present research explored this product category using a multi-variable research strategy where consumers from New Zealand (n = 345) tasted samples for degree of liking/disliking and described their perceived sensory, emotional/cognitive and situational use characteristics using check-all-that-apply (CATA) questions. A total of 10 products were included in the study, three of which were dairy-based (cow's milk, two at 3.4% fat and one at 0.1% fat), while the remaining seven products were a blend of three plant-based ingredients (coconut, rice and oats) or made from either soy, oat, rice or cashew nuts (including variations for sweetened/unsweetened products and reduced-fat products). Across all participants, the full-fat dairy milks were most liked, but heterogeneity was apparent, especially for the plant-based alternatives. Four consumer segments were identified that fell along a continuum from those people who exclusively liked full-fat dairy products (n = 107) to those who preferred a wide range of plant-based products (n = 111), with two smaller intermediary clusters, Dairy and tri-blend Likers (n = 55) and Full-fat dairy / tri-blend / soy Likers (n = 72). Each cluster had distinct and characterising sensory, emotional/cognitive and situational uses for the tested dairy and plant-based beverages, and penalty/lift analysis was used to determine how these positively or negatively impacted product liking. The penalty/lift analysis was supplemented with a test that for each CATA term (sensory, emotional/cognitive, situational use) enabled a comparison of the four clusters to understand for which of these the effect on liking scores was larger/smaller. Overall, the present research contributed new knowledge for plant-based beverages (which remain understudied relative to plant-based meat alternatives) by providing detailed product insights into a broad range of tasted samples, showing that complex consumer preference segmentation exists, driven by a combination of sensory, emotional/cognitive, and situational use perceptions.

TidsskriftFood Quality and Preference
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Staff at the Sensory & Consumer Science Team at PFR are thanked for help with sample selection, ballot development, data collection and curation, especially David Jin, Grace S. Ryan, and Sok L. Chheang. David Jin is also thanked for help with visualisation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


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