Semester of Graduation

Summer 2018


Master of Science (MS)


School of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Document Type



The current high levels of dietary sodium intake are negatively affecting consumers’ health. Reducing sodium consumption to the recommended amount could help prevent around 2.5 million deaths yearly and save up to $18 billion dollars in health care costs worldwide. The main objective of this research was to evaluate the possibility of increasing the saltiness perception and acceptability of reduced-sodium cheese dips by using the multisensory approach and analyzing gender differences towards salty taste expectations. Two experiments were conducted: I) The combined effects of gender and visual color cue on salty taste expectations, liking, and purchase intent (PI) of cheese dips; ii) Influences of spiciness and visual color cue on salty taste intensity perception in reduced-sodium cheese dips. Results in study I showed that increasing yellow/orange color intensity increased the expected saltiness intensity, switching the JAR rating from “too weak” to “too strong.” Also, color intensity, particularly pale and most intense colors decreased the expected salty taste liking scores. Overall, females expected cheese dips with more intense yellow/orange color to be saltier than males, and they were more willing to purchase samples with less intense yellow/orange dips. Results from study II showed that expectancy disconfirmation driven by color intensity caused an assimilation/contrast effect in the perceived intensity of the salty taste. Generally, increasing color intensity from pale to medium, increased the perceived saltiness intensity. However, when a high discrepancy between expectations and actual taste was experienced at the most intense color, the perceived intensity decreased at all spiciness levels. Large mean-drops of the overall liking score were associated with a high discrepancy between expected vs. perceived salty taste. On the other hand, spiciness level was shown to influence saltiness intensity perception [the spicier, the saltier]. Overall, by combining color intensity and spiciness level, the salty taste intensity perception of a reduced-sodium cheese dip was optimized to an ideal level and the PI increased by 54.4%. Findings from this research may help the food industry improve sensory characteristics and acceptability of reduced-sodium products, and thus achieve the current dietary goals of sodium consumption.



Committee Chair

Witoon Prinyawiwatkul