An investigation into the current barriers that consumers face when purchasing dark chocolate confectionary within the student population at Queen Margaret University.
(2017) An investigation into the current barriers that consumers face when purchasing dark chocolate confectionary within the student population at Queen Margaret University., no. 39.
Background: Dark chocolate contains polyphenols which produces the characteristic bitter taste. Polyphenols are not an essential nutrients, however they are known to be associated with potential health benefits. This study aimed to investigate whether cocoa content influenced sensory responses and identify the barriers of purchasing. Methods: A questionnaire developed by the researcher investigated chocolate consumption and the participant's knowledge of potential health benefits. A food taste panel assessed sensory responses to five dark chocolate samples ranging in cocoa content. After the completion of the taste panel, a focus group was conducted to discuss purchasing barriers and influencers. Results: Nineteen individuals participated in the study with 26% consuming dark chocolate as a preferred chocolate confectionary. Sensory analysis indicated that dark chocolate with a lower cocoa content and a higher sugar content was the most favored sample. Discussions indicated that taste, price and nutritional content were major factors in purchasing choices. Conclusion: Previous studies also indicated that higher cocoa dark chocolate is less favored. Generally, milk chocolate and sugary confectionary is the preferred treat with dark chocolate being the least preferred chocolate choice. The focus on a student population resulted in a narrow age range contributing to low dark chocolate consumption. Key Words: Polyphenols, Cocoa, Sugar, Sensory Evaluation, Purchasing Influencers