Authors: Ana Patricia Silva, Maria Isabel Franco, Cissé Mady, Dominique Pallet, Keith Tomlins, Ben Bennett, Manuela Pintado and Miguel Sottomayor
 
Journal Title: Beverages
 
Publisher: MDPI AG
 
Abstract
 
One of the challenges of studying food consumption behavior is to identify the drivers of choice for a food product. This is particularly important to design and develop new foods for which no previous information is available. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (Bissap) is an herbaceous plant and an important source of vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds, which confer a number of potential health benefits to derived products. The consumption of Bissap in beverage form is widespread in Africa and Asia, but not yet in Europe. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the main drivers of consumer acceptance of a traditional African beverage made from Bissap to which they had not been previously exposed. First, three focus groups (n = 22) were performed in Portugal to characterize the sensory profile of four Bissap beverages, to reveal perceptions and attitudes towards Bissap beverages, and to identify potential choice attributes. Subsequently, a full-profile conjoint analysis (n = 99) was performed, where consumers evaluated 37 Bissap beverage profiles, aiming to estimate choice attribute importance and to identify relevant market segments. Focus group findings showed that consumers would choose Bissap because they perceived as a healthy choice, and due to its novelty. The conjoint study showed an ideal profile for a Bissap beverage costing €0.99/L, <18 kcal/100 mL, packaged in Tetra-pack, light red color, and containing labeling information about antioxidants and Bissap. Four clusters of consumers were identified: price sensitive, body concerned, packaging attracted, and demanding, highlighting the most influential choice attributes: price, calories, and packaging. Findings provide useful guidance for new product development of an African product in the European lifestyle. Results might be useful from a nutraceutical point of view and to the food/beverages industry.
 

Illustration Photo: Bissap Juice (Credit: Jen Arrr / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

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