The DLG (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft – German Agricultural Society) Food Test Center is one of the leading independent food testing organizations in Germany and globally.
With methods and test profiles – including for convenience and frozen foods – developed by independent committees, its procedures comply with international standards and provide benchmarks for the quality assessment of foods of all types. Furthermore, products that carry the “DLG Award Winner” label enjoy a high level of trust and confidence among retailers and consumers.
The advantages of frozen products are clear to retailers as long shelf life make stock easier to manage; and consumers, too, like the convenience, quality and health benefits – including protected vitamin contents – that buying frozen food brings. Today, ready meals, snacks, fish and seafood, baked goods and meat can all be found in the freezer cabinets of both convenience stores and large supermarkets.
However, whether the consumer opts to purchase ambient, chilled or frozen product eventually comes down to the many factors that dictate buying decisions, and high on that list is the eating experience. We all know that food can be both nutritional and pleasurable, but whether it provides an enjoyable eating experience depends largely on the attributes of appearance, consistency, odor and taste. Intensive in-house and external monitoring generally mean that foods satisfy the requirements of product composition and product safety, but they do not guarantee that consumers will like the taste; or in other words, that they will enjoy it enough to repeat their purchase.
The degree to which a food is enjoyable depends on how it is perceived by the full range of human senses, and this can be scientifically measured by sensory assessments carried out by specially trained assessors. Quality tests conducted by NGOs, magazines, TV broadcasters or consumer organizations often include a sensory test, but these tend to be limited to a small selection of products. Objective information for consumers that provides a guide to the enjoyment value of a large number of food types, from as many producers as possible, and can support their purchasing decisions, is lacking.
The DLG Test Center for Food is helping to address this information gap by combining an easily understandable award system with the organization’s core competence in sensory testing. At its annual International DLG Quality Tests, it assesses processed foods from all areas of conventional production, as well as organic products and foods for the elderly. The current DLG test results include about 3,000 products from the ready meals sector including frozen foods, and delicatessen and self-service fresh meat. In total the DLG tests over 30,000 food samples annually, spanning a range of products including dairy, cheese, beverage, meat and convenience products.
You can read the entire article in the May-June print issue of Frozen Food Europe