Consumer acceptance of eggs from Hy-Line Brown layers fed soybean or soybean-free diets using cage or free-range rearing systems.
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Consumers have begun to awaken to the food on their plates with respect to human health and the environment, as well as animal welfare. They have become more demanding about what they buy or prefer in their food, such as soy-free, gluten-free, or organic products. The objective of this study was to evaluate consumer acceptance of eggs from hens fed soybean meal or soybean-free diets utilizing cottonseed meal and distillers' dried grains, using cage or free-range rearing systems. All eggs were stored at the sensory lab at Texas A&M University (TAMU) for a d prior to each test at 4C. A panel of consumers (n = 60) made up of TAMU students, faculty, and staff, ages 18 to 50, were recruited to evaluate consumer acceptance based on 2 tests using scrambled and hard cooked eggs. Samples were placed in separate weigh boats labeled with 3-digit codes to avoid visual bias. Sensory ballots were based on overall like or dislike of flavor, texture, odor, and color using the 9-point hedonic scales. For scrambled eggs, flavor did not differ (P > 0.05), but texture liking was higher (P = 0.064) for scrambled eggs from the soybean-free diet (7.08) vs. scrambled eggs from the soybean meal diet (6.65). With respect to the hard cooked eggs, the consumer panel preferred the flavor of the eggs from the caged rearing system (7.11) vs. eggs from the free-range system (6.60; P = 0.014). Consumers liked the texture (P = 0.018) for eggs collected from hens fed soybean meal (6.91) vs. eggs from hens fed the soybean-free diet (6.30).