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Consumer’s sensory perception of food is a complicated process, with many factors from diverse sensory modalities involved. These factors play a role in determining how we perceive food overall, and thereby, our behaviors and food consumption. This dissertation discussed the effects of external factors on food, from two perspectives: 1) factors intrinsic to a food, affecting its sensory properties, and; 2) factors extrinsic to food, indirectly influencing sensory experience without altering the food itself. Topics to be discussed include the influence of environmental light exposure on the sensory quality of milk and soybean oil, the application of an artificial eating context to a consumption situation, delivered through virtual reality technology, and the influence of cues regarding health messaging on consumer’s food choices and intake. Light exposure influences sensory quality of soybean oil and milk. The extent of damage to soybean oil from light was tested with sensory evaluation, assessing the effects of both LED and fluorescent lighting, using a variety of sensory approaches. Our results suggested that soybean oil may be reaching the consumer at a differing quality than intended, which may be mitigated with superior packaging technologies. Photooxidation of fluid milk has long been affecting nutrient and sensory quality of fluid milk as well. Custom light schemes possessing spectral properties capable of avoiding excitation maxima of common photosensitizers in milk were validated for slowing the chemical degradation of light-exposed milk and thus preserving consumer acceptability. The importance of the eating context was validated through virtual reality technology. Based on this, we further characterized the influence of video messaging on different health interventions, healthy food preparation and exercise tutorials, on individuals’ food choices and intake behavior in a buffet setting, using recorded food intake and self-reported viewpoints. Results showed that videos containing health messages may not necessarily promote health eating behaviors. The exercise video not only led to lower caloric intake, but also triggered a healthier food selection. In contrast, the food video increased total caloric intake compared to the control video, with more calories arising from less healthy foods, irrespective of the fact that the video displayed common healthy recipes.

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133 pages


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Consumer Science; Eating Context; Food Perception; Food Sensory Science; Light Oxidation; Sensory Evaluation


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Union Local


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Dando, Robin

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Miller, Dennis D.
Gomez, Miguel I.

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Food Science and Technology

Degree Name

Ph. D., Food Science and Technology

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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dissertation or thesis

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