A new study suggests that bakers looking to increase sales of whole grain breads should focus not only on marketing nutritional benefits but also on tweaking color and texture.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota examined the bread preferences of 78 people to better understand their buying habits. Instead of concentrating on price, value and nutrition, however, the scientists investigated the sensory reasons behind the participants’ bread preferences. The participants rated a range of bread samples that varied in bitterness, roughness and darkness. Researchers added wheat germ to enhance bitterness, bleached bran to create more roughness and caramel color to give various breads a darker appearance.
Overall, the participants preferred breads that were less bitter but had more roughness. The researchers discovered that the participants who had expressed an earlier preference for refined-wheat breads preferred the lighter-colored breads, while the participants who had earlier expressed a preference for whole wheat bread gravitated toward the darker samples. The study also found that the refinedwheat eaters did not find whole wheat bread made with white wheat to be more appealing than the whole wheat bread made with red wheat, indicating that although the white wheat produces a lighter color, it is still too dark to convert refined-wheat eaters.