Consumer and Time-Temperature Indicator: Implications for Further Development

Kyösti Pennanen, Kaisu Keskitalo-Vuokko, Vilja Kumpusalo-Sanna, Virpi Korhonen, Maria Smolander, Margareetta Ollila

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsProfessional


    Food quality is an essential aspect of food industry. Time-Temperature Indicator (TTI) technology has the capability to ensure the quality of temperature sensitive food products in the distribution from producer to consumer. A general adoption of the technology in B2C-market is yet to come despite the many benefits of TTIs (and decades of R&D -work). This study highlights what the consumer associates with TTIs; benefits, problems and needs, with the aim to provide input for further TTI development. Four focus-group interviews with 29 consumers in total were held in the capital area of Finland during May 2012. The interviews included three parts: 1) evaluation of TTI concept, 2) generation of an ideal TTI and 3) evaluation of actual TTI applications. To ensure the integrity of data and successful analysis, all interviews were both video and audio taped. In general, consumers perceived the TTI concept useful and understood the basic idea of TTI well. On the other hand, some concerns emerged (e.g. is TTI really needed in Finnish food chain, would it increase waste). In case of an ideal TTI, consumers perceived that TTIs should include all current characteristics, but also indicate the time and place of deterioration. Design should be user friendly (easy to interpret), but it should not have too much effect on the general appearance of package. The real applications did not meet all consumers’ expectations. Most of the concerns were related to TTI design (colours used, instructions to interpret TTI’s message, separate from package thus vulnerable to manipulation). Consumers were also suspicious about the accuracy of TTIs to indicate product deterioration as TTIs monitor only temperature changes, but not microbiological activity. To conclude, the general tendency towards TTI concept was positive, but the real life applications still need further development especially in terms of design (colours used, written instructions to interpret the message, integrated to package). The need for consumer education regarding the technology is evident.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 26th IAPRI Symposium on Packaging
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    ISBN (Print)978-951-38-7434-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeD3 Professional conference proceedings
    Event26th IAPRI Symposium on Packaging - Espoo, Finland
    Duration: 10 Jun 201313 Jun 2013


    Conference26th IAPRI Symposium on Packaging


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