The line of research presented in this paper aims at shedding new light on the role of sensory elements in legal disputes concerning potentially misleading food naming and labelling. It presents selected results of a quantitative and qualitative review of 821 real-life cases on such issues processed by the Danish food authorities. A key observation is that the sensory domain tends to be overshadowed by other arguments more easily verbalized. A taxonomy of those instances where the sensory properties of the food and/or the labelling nevertheless do come to play a pivotal role is set up, and different sensory aspects are analyzed in order to establish to what extent and how sensory variables can be integrated into experimental setups for testing the misleading potential of food naming and labelling solutions. For illustrating these perspectives, the key results of one specific follow-up experiment are presented which targeted the limits for consumers’ acceptance of name-product combinations when exposed to taste samples alone (sensory product attributes), taste samples in combination with ingredients lists and nutrition facts (adding factual information), and both, in combination with authoritative definitions (adding experts’ final judgments). The research is part of the cross-disciplinary research project “Spin or fair speak – when foods talk” which aims at providing new knowledge, tools, and experimental evidence for promoting fairness in food naming and labelling practices.
Bit's 1st Annual World Congress of Sq Foods - 2012: Theme: Science, Safety, Quality and Sustainability, 2012