Assessing consumer expectations for food bars by conjoint analysis

K. Mahanna, H. R. Moskowitz, Soo-Yeun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Food bars, which include meal replacement, protein, granola and cereal bars, have rapidly increased in sales with current estimation of above $3.2 billion. Despite such rapid growth in the market, research on consumer expectations for these products is still lacking. Conjoint analysis was used to probe the effect of different elements of food bar products on purchase intent, including types of bar, ingredients, macro-nutrients, health claims, calories and sensory characteristics. Overall, consumers wanted a food bar to be less than 150 kcal, made with whole grains and higher in protein. Consumers divided into four mind-set segments were characterized as "Label Readers" (n = 213), "Calorie Health Nuts" (n = 90), "Flavor Energy Seekers" (n = 79) and "Chocolate Lovers" (n = 44). Sensory characteristics and types of bar categories were not important to consumers, although calorie elements played the largest role in motivating purchase intent for food bars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-870
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Sensory Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Sensory Systems

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