Health versus environmental benefits: Does additional information influence consumer acceptance of pulse‐based spreads?

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Despite the known health benefits and the potential for substituting less environmentally sustainable consumed foods such as meat, the current intake of pulses in developed countries remains less than recommended. Barriers are related to sensory characteristics and lack of knowledge about preparation, while drivers of environmental benefits are intangible. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of additional information about health or environmental benefits of pulses on the acceptance of novel pulse-based products from chickpeas, black beans, and faba beans. Perceptions of these pulse-based spreads in a blind and informed stage were assessed with 202 consumers in urban and suburban areas of Denmark. In general, the familiar chickpea spread followed by the relatively most unfamiliar black bean spread was liked the most. Only for these two products, additional information increased hedonic perception, regardless of the context (health or environmental benefits). If consumers did not like the spread, as found for the faba bean spread, providing additional information did not significantly alter this perception. Participants’ preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) in a discrete choice experiment corresponded to hedonic scores, whereas providing additional information increased the WTP. These findings suggest that extrinsic cues such as health or environmental benefits may only be useful in products with an acceptable baseline taste profile. Moreover, black beans might be investigated as a promising source for further product development due to their acceptance by consumers besides being the comparably most unfamiliar pulse type.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Food Science
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1144-1158
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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