Fat is an important source of both pleasure and calories in the diet. Dairy products are a major source of fat in the diet, and understanding preferences for fat in fluid milk can potentially inform efforts to change fat consumption patterns or optimize consumer products. Here, patterns of preference for fat in milk were determined in the laboratory among 104 free living adults using rejection thresholds. Participants also answered questions relating to their health concerns, the type of fluid milk typically consumed, and their declared preference for type of milk (in terms of fat level). When revealed preferences in blind tasting were stratified by these measures, we observed striking differences in the preferred level of fat in milk. These data indicate a non-trivial number of consumers who prefer low-fat milk to full fat milk, a pattern that would have been overshadowed by the use of a group mean. While it is widely assumed and claimed that increasing fat content in fluid milk universally increases palatability, present data demonstrate this is not true for a segment of the population. These results underscore the need to look beyond group means to understand individual differences in food preferences.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics