Consumer insights on prepackaged Cheddar cheese shreds using focus groups, conjoint analysis, and qualitative multivariate analysis.


Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695. Electronic address: [Email]


This study established attractive attributes and drivers of purchase for prepackaged Cheddar cheese shreds. Seven focus groups of Cheddar cheese shred consumers (n = 61) were conducted to probe consumer beliefs regarding packaging, ingredients, label claims, and applications of prepackaged Cheddar cheese shreds. Subsequently, an online survey was developed utilizing the key attributes from the focus groups. The survey (n = 1,288) included maximum difference scaling, Kano questions, and adaptive choice-based conjoint analysis. Additionally, 9 different commercial Cheddar cheese shreds varying in color, shred thickness, brand, and price were selected for a follow-up qualitative multivariate analysis to gain further consumer insight on attribute importance. Consumers (n = 13) were provided with commercial packages of shreds to evaluate over a 4-week period. Consumers journaled their likes and dislikes after use of each cheese shred and subsequently participated in a final 2.5-h focus group and projective mapping exercise. Consumers placed highest importance on price, followed by nutrition claims, color, sharpness, thickness, and label claims. Four consumer clusters were identified from conjoint utility scores. One consumer cluster exhibited preference for value-added features such as nutrition claims and brand, and another consumer cluster placed importance on shred color, whereas the other 2 groups were driven primarily by price. The qualitative multivariate analysis results confirmed the focus group and survey results: meltability, orange color, lack of clumps, ability to reseal the bag, and desirable "Cheddar" flavor were also preferred Cheddar shred qualities.


Cheddar cheese shreds,conjoint analysis,consumer liking,