Consumers (Dis)Preference for Bitterness in Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A Field Experiment

Francesco Caracciolo, Carla Cavallo, Teresa Del Giudice, Teresa Panico, Riccardo Vecchio, Gianni Cicia


Globally, bitterness in food is not a preferred attribute by consumers, for several reasons. In the case of Extra Virgin Olive Oil its presence is fundamental as it is a healthiness indicator, being strictly linked to the antioxidant content. The current study aimed to assess the extent of Italian consumers’ preferences for bitterness taste of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Real choices made by shoppers at the store shelf of a hypermarket were recorded and then compared with the selected Extra Virgin Olive Oil sensory profiles evaluated by a professional panel. Findings reveal that bitterness exerts a negative willingness to pay equal to -1.18 €/liter. Furthermore, consumers tend to overestimate the perception of Extra Virgin Olive Oil bitterness compared to sensory experts. Results provide new evidences of consumer preferences for sweet sensory profile of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and bitter aversion.


in-store experiment; real choices; sensory panel; taste preferences; willingness to pay

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ISSN 1869-6945


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