Consumer perception of salt-reduced potato chips: Sensory strategies, effect of labeling and individual health orientation

Sara Kongstad, Davide Giacalone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Lowering dietary intake of sodium is currently an important public health goal, and a major driver of food product development. Reducing the salt content of food while maintaining the same structure and sensory quality is, however, no easy feat. While several strategies for reformulation exist, the available literature indicates that their effectiveness is highly product-dependent. The present research focused on different salt reduction strategies for potato chips (crisps), drawing on two studies focusing on young (18–30) consumers.

In Study 1 (N = 200), the effect of simple salt reduction and two salt replacers (KCl and MSG) on consumer perception was investigated, using a reference product as basis for systematic reformulation. Study 1 also addressed the issue of how information labeling affects consumer perception by comparing results in blind and informed conditions (N = 100 each). The results indicated that sodium can be reduced up to 30% while maintaining the same palatability, and that replacement (up to 30%) by either KCl and MSG even increased liking in the blind condition. A strong labelling effect was found, however, whereby consumers significantly preferred the reference product than any of the reformulation when informed of its content, whereas the opposite was observed (reference was least liked) when tested in blind.

Study 2 (N = 100) extended the range of experimental conditions by focusing on how salt reduction is affected by texture and seasoning type. The main result of Study 1 – that sodium can be reduced up to 30% while maintaining the same palatability (in blind) – was confirmed across different seasoning types, thus enabling a more robust basis for generalization. Contrary to expectations, the presence of a wavy (vs. smooth) texture increased liking only for a single seasoning type, and the effect was not dependent on salt content.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103856
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Number of pages14
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020


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