A new methodology is introduced that allows the design of meal solutions (such as chilled and frozen ready meals, menu choices in catering and food service) based on empirical assessments of fit between meal centres and side components. The necessary input data are collected by means of a consumer survey. Survey participants are asked to indicate, for a list of relevant meal centres, which side components they typically combine with the meal centres. In the first step of the statistical analysis, a parametric model of centre-side combination is estimated. In a second step, the predicted probabilities are subjected to multiple correspondence analysis and mapped into low-dimensional space. In a third step, the principal coordinates representing meal centres and side components in the correspondence analysis solution are subjected to cluster analysis to identify distinct groups of compatible centre-side combinations. The methodology is demonstrated in the context of a pan-European study of meals with fresh and minimally processed pork products as meal centres. The best-fitting solution suggested five meal segments: a ‘‘from the grill’’ segment (skewers or sausages served with condiments and beer or spirits), a ‘‘Sunday roast’’ segment (shoulder, gammon roast, collar roast or medallions served with potatoes and sauce, combined with beans, carrots or cabbage), a ‘‘Bolognese’’ segment (minced meat with pasta), a ‘‘lean cuisine’’ segment (tenderloin or small cuts combined served with rice, combined with tomatoes, sweet peppers or lettuce plus wine) and a miscellaneous segment of rarely consumed products.
Food Quality and Preference, 2013, Vol 30, Issue 1