Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science and Human Nutrition


Mary Ellen Camire

Second Committee Member

Adrienne White

Third Committee Member

Kathryn Yerxa


At present, young adults do not consume enough whole grains. A low intake of whole grains has been associated with higher body mass index and a greater risk for diet- induced diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Novel approaches outside of traditional marketing strategies must be considered. A two-part design aimed at increasing the consumption of whole grains by young adults was organized. First, a survey tool developed to uncover the reasoning behind food choices was validated and subsequently distributed among 100 University of Maine undergraduate students who were not Food Science or Human Nutrition majors. Demographic as well as food preference questions were asked. Seventy percent of participants answered incorrectly when asked what percent of total grain intake is recommended to be whole grain. This demonstrates an evident need for nutrition education about whole grains. For the second part of the study, three formulations of blueberry mini-muffins were created. One was made with 100% white whole wheat flour, one with 50% white whole wheat and 50% allpurpose flour, and one with 75% white whole wheat and 25% all-purpose flour. Fifty undergraduate college students evaluated the muffins for appearance, flavor, texture and overall liking using a 9-point hedonic scale. There were no statistically significant differences between any of the evaluated attributes, and all attributes scored between liked slightly and liked moderately. By blinding the participants to each sample’s composition and then revealing which sample they tasted, we assessed if the discovery of whole grain content changed overall likability of the product. Overall liking of the 75% and 100% formulations increased significantly (p ≤ 0.05). The 100% whole wheat muffin has the potential to be marketed at a university dining area to students who regularly eat muffins. By consuming one standard large size muffin made with the 100% white whole wheat flour formulation, whole grain consumption would increase by two of the three recommended servings per day for adults aged 18-24 years. For future investigation, the 100% formulation could be tested in campus dining halls. In addition, specifically targeting consumers whom are known to not like whole grain foods to see if the test products are acceptable may provide valuable information for marketing strategies.