Mixed messages: Ambiguous penalty information in modified restaurant menu items

Harry T. Lawless, Anjali A. Patel, Nanette V. Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Restaurant menu items from six national or regional brands were modified to reduce fat, saturated fat, sodium and total calories. Twenty-four items were tested with a current recipe, and two modifications (small and moderate reductions) for 72 total products. Approximately 100 consumers tested each product for acceptability as well as for desired levels of tastes/flavor, amounts of key ingredients and texture/consistency using just-about-right (JAR) scales. Penalty analysis was conducted to assess the effects of non-JAR ratings on acceptability scores. Situations arose where JAR ratings and penalty analyses could yield different recommendations, including large groups with low penalties and small groups with high penalties. Opposing groups with moderate to high penalties on opposite sides of the same JAR scale were also seen. Strategies for dealing with these observances are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-236
Number of pages5
JournalFood Quality and Preference
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Acceptance testing
  • Consumer testing
  • Hedonic scales
  • Just-about-right scales
  • Penalty analysis
  • Restaurant menu items

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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