In this study, we investigated the role of cooking ability and food neophobia (fear of new foods) of consumers on how they like and perceive Bolognese sauces. The Bolognese sauces were made with either beef or with plant-based meat substitutes.
There are several barriers identified as to why consumers are unwilling to reduce the amount of meat they eat. But there may be other factors that could act as barriers, which have not been considered, one of which is cooking ability.
The study aimed to determine if peoples cooking ability and their level of food neophobia (fear of new foods) impact on how they like Bolognese sauce made with meat or meat substitutes, and on how they perceive the sensory characteristics of the sauces. The study also determined if cooking ability and food neophobia themselves correlated with each other.
Overall, the higher the consumers’ cooking ability, the less they liked the flavour and taste of Bolognese sauces in general. Similarly, the more food neophobic a consumer, the less they liked the Bolognese sauce overall, its appearance, its flavour/taste, and its texture. Food neophobia was the dominant factor that impacted how well Bolognese sauces were liked, with cooking ability also playing a role. Neither consumers’ cooking ability nor food neophobia affected how they perceived the sensory characteristics of the Bolognese sauces, and all consumers could profile the differences in sensory characteristics across the various Bolognese sauces. Finally, cooking ability and food neophobia correlated negatively with each other: people with low cooking ability tended to have higher food neophobia, while people with higher cooking ability tended to have lower food neophobia.