The way people take their chocolate is much like the way they take their coffee: pure but slightly bitter, sweet, or with a touch of milk. But how can candy companies measure exactly how consumers want their chocolate to taste? The Institute for Food Technologists (IFT), recently developed a means to assist candy manufacturers in determining when chocolate is to too bitter to be bearable.
Scientists at IFT used an innovative psychophysical method deemed the “rejection threshold” to create a way to understand how food consumers tolerate different tastes. Different from “detection thresholds,” which measure flavors without indicating how much of an off-flavor is considered acceptable, the “rejection threshold” reveals how consumers receive or refuse certain tastes.
Eighty-five adults, some preferring milk chocolate and some dark, were given samples of milk chocolate compound coating that was infused with sucrose octaacetate (SOA) to create a bitter flavor. Those who normally favored dark chocolate had higher rejection thresholds, making them less prone to reject high levels of the SOA in comparison with milk chocolate fans.
John Hayes, the author of the study, which appeared in the Journal of Food Science, reported that he thought the study’s results were two-fold. First, it can be applied in detecting the point at which off-flavors become intolerable, thereby improving quality control. Second, it can help chocolate producers improve product development by targeting specific market segments based on their rejection thresholds.
However you prefer your chocolate, Wockenfuss has something in store for you, and we promise it’s way too delicious to set off any rejection thresholds – in fact, you’ll be so accepting of our chocolate delights that you won’t be able to keep yourself from coming back for more.