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Abstract

This paper explores in-depth sensory experiences, expectations and perceptions of organic producers regarding the role played by sensory properties in organic market, using a qualitative marketing research technique. Ten in-depth interviews supported by semi-structured questionnaire were performed in Italy during 2009. Findings shows that organic producers stated that sensory tests are mainly carried out empirically, they are not systematic and often performed by non trained assessors, even if they are completely aware of the importance of sensory information. Interviewees think that sensory attributes may play a primary or at least complementary role in consumer choice in order to adding-value and drivers for purchase motivations, but at the same time highlighted also the negative influence of variability in sensory features and the key role played by sensory education and training. Finally, organic producers expressed the need and the intention to plan scientific sensory tests with trained personnel in order to improve sensory properties of organic food although smallest companies declared difficulties since the high costs of sensory analysis.

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