Peer-reviewed articles

Regional variation in the hedonic evaluation of lamb meat from diverse production systems by consumers in six European countries

Authors: C. Sañudo, M. Alfonso, R. San Julián, G. Thorkelsson, T. Valdimarsdottir, D. Zygoyiannis, C. Stamataris, E. Piasentier, C. Mills, P. Berge, E. Dransfield, GR Nute, M. Enser, BY Fisher.

Version: Meat Science

Publication year: 2007


This paper describes the responses of consumers in six European countries (Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Iceland and United Kingdom) tasting meat from twelve different local types of lambs produced in those same six countries. Animals represented 10 breeds and crossbreeds, three sexes, several diets composed of either milk, concentrates and various forages as main ingredients and different slaughter ages, from 1 and 12 months, and carcass weights, from 5.5 to 30.4 kg. Tests were conducted by 36 volunteer families in each of the six countries involved in the study. Families were asked to roast the joints using their own cooking criteria, evaluating (from “dislike extremely” to “like extremely”) flavor, tenderness, juiciness and overall liking. Also the cook was asked to rate the odor during cooking. Country and lamb type and their interaction were statistically significant for all the variables analyzed. Results suggest a link between the assessments of a given lamb type and the consumers' culinary background, showing clear associations between country and lamb type preferences. It was possible to separate, independently of the country, different groups of families with similar preferences. Five family groups, which included 88 families (40,74%), had a clear Mediterranean origin and preferred types of lamb fed either milk or mainly concentrate diets. Seven family groups, which included 93 families (43.06%) with a clear northern origin, preferred types reared on grass or with grass included in the diet. The rest of the groups (four) that included 35 families (16.20%) had no clear composition (northern or Mediterranean), and they had a wider taste preference. It can clearly be seen that there are two categories of consumers of lamb in the analyzed European market: those who prefer “milk or concentrate taste” and those who prefer “grass taste”.

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