Aquaculture and sensometrics: the need to evaluate sensory attributes and the consumers' preferences

Aquaculture represents a vital food production industry that contributes to the global economy and fish supplies. Several studies had suggested that changes in the production process, especially those related to nutritional and feeding interventions may have an impact on the final quality of farmed animal food products including those from aquaculture. An integrated approach is needed to close the gap between consumers' response and aquaculture products which sensorial quality aspects could be altered by the inclusion of new alternative protein and lipid sources in aquafeed. Applied research efforts in aquaculture should recognize the significance of consumers' behaviour and preferences with the aim of making this industry economically sustainable. Until now, sensory research in aquaculture has been developed in different ways depending on the commercial interest of the species implicated. The sensory analyses generally used in aquaculture were identified in four main application research areas: nutrition and feeding, production aspects, quality product and marketing topics. Applied aquaculture research for the continued growth of this industry needs to be complemented with the findings and possibilities offered by sensometrics. This paper aims to provide an overview of sensory analysis used in aquaculture as an activity that supplies products to the market. The main opportunity that sensometrics could offer to the aquaculture industry is to apply an accurate approach that takes into account the consumer.

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