Author

Sarah R. Lash

Date of Award

8-2010

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Food Science and Human Nutrition

Advisor

Mary Ellen Camire

Second Committee Member

Alfred A. Bushway

Third Committee Member

Richard A. Cook

Abstract

Dietary fiber and whole grains are important components of the diet and can reduce the risk of developing several diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. However, researchers have found that intakes of both dietary fiber and whole grains are below the recommended level, especially by young adults. The presence of a health claim on a food label may increase purchase of products such as whole grains. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relative importance of two different health claims - "whole grain" and "high fiber," for acceptability of bread and pasta samples by young adults aged 18 to 24 years.

Participants rated five bread samples for liking of appearance, flavor, texture, and overall appeal, and perceived healthiness and purchase intent (N = 116). Samples included white refined flour bread with no health claim, whole grain white labeled "whole grain," 100% whole wheat labeled "whole grain," and double fiber 100% whole wheat presented twice, once labeled "whole grain" and once labeled "high fiber." Participants next completed demographic and general health interest questionnaires. They then rated five pasta samples including white with no health claim, fiber-enriched white labeled "high fiber," whole grain labeled "whole grain," and whole wheat presented twice, once labeled "whole grain" and once labeled "high fiber" on the same factors as for bread (N = 115).

Data were analyzed by analysis of variance for the entire group and after categorizing participants into low, moderate, and high health concern subgroups. When significant differences occurred (p ≤ 0.05), pairwise comparisons by the Fisher Least Significant Difference test were completed. Correlations were calculated for each factor that samples were rated on.

The three 100% whole wheat samples were liked more than both white samples for appearance, flavor, texture, and overall appeal. Purchase intent was lowest for white, followed by whole grain white. Purchase intent was highest for the three 100% whole wheat samples. White bread was perceived as being least healthful, followed by whole grain white. The three 100% whole wheat bread samples were perceived as being most healthful (p ≤ 0.05).

There were no differences among pasta samples for appearance. Flavor, texture, and overall appeal were lower for "high fiber" labeled whole wheat pasta than for all other samples. Perceived healthiness was lowest for white followed by fiber enriched white, then whole grain. Both whole wheat samples were perceived as being most healthful. Purchase intent was highest for "whole grain" labeled whole wheat and lowest for white (p ≤ 0.05).

Based on results from this study, "whole grain" and "high fiber" messages are of similar importance to young adults for bread. When compared to a "high fiber" message, a "whole grain" message is relatively more important to young adults for pasta. When marketing high fiber whole grain products or encouraging consumption of these products in places such as college cafeterias, a "whole grain" message could be used for both bread and pasta products to entice young adults.

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