Why people like — and dislike — whole wheat bread

by Laurie Gorton, Baking & Snack
Share This:

What drives consumers’ liking and disliking of whole wheat breads? It’s not just flavor, according to a proprietary multiyear study announced by Horizon Milling, Wayzata, MN.

The company surveyed 1,400 consumers and used a trained sensory panel at North Carolina State University to better understand the attitudes voiced. The survey revealed that there’s plenty of room to make improvements and earn market gains in this category.

“With pressure coming from consumers, government and public health organizations to improve the nutritional value of foods, we believe there are opportunities for growth around whole wheat,” said Megan Speas, Horizon’s director of marketing. “By understanding why consumers like, and dislike, whole wheat bread, we can help our customers optimize how they develop and innovate using various whole wheat flours.”

From its large consumer survey, the company selected 360 adults and 170 children in grades K though 12 to participate in a taste test of 25 different whole wheat breads. They rated them for overall liking, texture, appearance and purchase intent. Some breads were very well liked; others less so.

The university sensory panel then quantified the breads according to taste, flavor, texture, appearance and aroma. These scales helped Horizon characterize — or fingerprint — the breads to provide insight into how various whole wheat flours contribute to the finished products’ sensory characteristics.

Consumers fell into unique segments defined by demographics, behaviors and attitudes toward breads. “Perhaps the greatest divide occurred between adults and children,” said Elizabeth Uriyo, PhD, Horizon’s vice-president of R&D. “We saw that kids and adults have very different opinions about what makes a great whole wheat bread. Characteristics that drove liking for adults often drove disliking for children.”

The sensory quantification helped Horizon determine the role played by various flour qualities. “We learned that particle size doesn’t have an impact on the liking of finished products,” Dr. Uriyo said. “In other words, a finer particle size didn’t correlate to higher overall liking scores.”

Aspects that drove preferences varied greatly among segments, but a few truths were found. On the taste scale, when bitterness is reduced, liking is increased. When sweetness and umami notes increased, so did liking.

Horizon developed an online market simulator tool based on this proprietary research. It was designed to act as a modeling tool to predict the impact that changes to bread characteristics will have on consumer liking. For example, will a topping of flaked grains improve liking? And how will changes affect the price consumers are willing to pay?

“Now that we have started to pinpoint the drivers of liking in whole wheat bread, we believe these insights can help our customers develop whole wheat products with the sensory characteristics that delight consumers’ palates,” Dr. Uriyo said.

Horizon Milling is a joint venture between CHS, Inc., and Cargill, Inc.

Add a Comment
We welcome your thoughtful comments. Please comply with our Community rules.








The views expressed in the comments section of Baking Business News do not reflect those of Baking Business News or its parent company, Sosland Publishing Co., Kansas City, Mo. Concern regarding a specific comment may be registered with the Editor by clicking the Report Abuse link.


READER COMMENTS (7)

By Kate Collins 4/14/2014 3:33:07 PM
What isn't mentioned here, probably because it is new and revolutionary is that if you sprout whole wheat properly the bitterness is removed leaving an amazing flavor and smooth texture that doesn't need sweatners or cutting with white flour to taste better. 100% sprouted whole wheat flour can be used to make delicious bread. No sensory panel needed!!

By syed sagheer uddin 4/13/2014 10:45:48 PM
Intersting.Keep searching the more facts & try to focus the nutritional aspects.

By Chaudhary Mahboob Ali Khan 4/12/2014 1:10:23 AM
CommenWHOLE PRODUCTS HAVE CERTAIN ADVANTAGE ON BREAD MADE FROM PATENT FLOUR IN TASTE, ON HEALTH POINT ,DIGESTION POINT AND RICH IN MINERAL , IRON AND VITAMINS.

By Chaudhary Mahboob Ali Khan 4/12/2014 1:10:18 AM
CommenWHOLE PRODUCTS HAVE CERTAIN ADVANTAGE ON BREAD MADE FROM PATENT FLOUR IN TASTE, ON HEALTH POINT ,DIGESTION POINT AND RICH IN MINERAL , IRON AND VITAMINS.

By Name Required 4/12/2014 1:06:29 AM
Comment Required

By Chaudhary Mahboob Ali Khan 4/12/2014 1:05:41 AM
As elders have knowledge that there are certain benefits of whole wheat bread for nutrition , health point benefit more mineral and vitamin, more folic acid and natural iron to helpful to overcome of anemia.AS children have not some knowledge .They only see better attraction of products,

By Dave Greene 4/9/2014 6:25:59 PM
Doesn't seem like a lot of useful info here. Didn't we already know that kids tend not to like whole wheat bread at all? Adding sugar and flavor makes people like the bread better? The title of this article suggests that there were going to be some definitive answers.