Evaluation of product development techniques for a frozen fruit-based dessert
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Satisfying customers' demands for good food at the lowest possible cost has always been the major challenge faced by the foodservice industry. In efforts to cope with this challenge, the industry has utilized the latest techniques of product development, including ingredient formats, sensory evaluation, and cost control. This has been especially true in the effort to meet customers' demands for a dessert using such fruits as cantaloupe. Individual Americans consume an average of 11 pounds of cantaloupe each year, mainly as fresh fruit during the five-month growing period, June to November. Transforming cantaloupe into sorbet would enable consumers to enjoy the freshness and flavor of cantaloupe at any time. To meet this goal, the following objectives were defined: 1) to determine an appropriate thickening agent for the sorbet; 2) to establish a cost reduction method for a restaurant offering cantaloupe sorbet as a dessert or a palate cleanser and apply value analysis techniques to the product; and 3) to determine convenient methods for producing cantaloupe sorbet in a restaurant and the shelf life of cantaloupe puree. If cantaloupe were transformed into a flavorful, relatively cheap sorbet, consumers would be able to enjoy a desirable dessert year round. In the first experiment performed by trained panelists, sorbets containing 0.05% of xanthan gum received a higher overall quality rating then substances used in other cantaloupe sorbets. The second experiment revealed that both trained and consumer panelists agreed that sorbet made from frozen cantaloupe puree was considered as desirable as that produced from fresh cantaloupe. In addition, consumer panelists indicated that 42.3% of customers would be willing to spend $2.00 to $2.99 in a restaurant to order cantaloupe sorbet as a dessert item. Value analysis results indicated, moreover, that frozen cantaloupe puree was an excellent choice for use in producing sorbet, with the added incentives of reducing working time, labor cost, and waste. The third experiment revealed that no difference was discernible between cantaloupe purees with and without sugar syrup, but the color intensity was affected by length of the storage period. Therefore, it was apparent that cantaloupe puree with sugar syrup was the better ingredient for producing cantaloupe sorbet in the restaurant during the off-season.