Research fellow at UMass tests ‘name bias’ in seafood choices

Hampshire County

Certified chef and assistant food manager Geoffrey McDonald prepares the whitefish for steaming with help from study lead researcher Amanda Davis.

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A research fellow student at UMass Amherst-based Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center is exploring the reactions in a scientific sensory evaluation of five different whitefish.

According to a news release sent to 22News, UMass environmental conservation graduate student Amanda Davis is exploring “name bias” in seafood choices straight from the Boston Fish Pier which includes cod, dogfish, haddock, hake, and pollock.

Davis conducted data from students and staff who were born between 1980 and 2000.

The research fellow gained an interest in conducting this whitefish study from promoting local and sustainable seafood in New England as Director of ‘Our Wicked Fish’ in Deerfield.

“How can we get consumers interested in eating whitefish other than cod? Hake, pollock and haddock taste as good and are not as expensive.”

Amanda Davis

With this study, Davis wants to show UMass Amherst campus and everyone else that it’s worth trying other whitefish. This study can ultimately increase the demand for locally sourced fish within the dining halls in school.

The news release states during the first session of testing, 68 participants were blinded and didn’t know what kind of fish they were tasting. On an iPad, they rated the fillet’s appearance, color, aroma, flavor, and texture. They were then asked if they would order the fish at a restaurant and at UMass.

After two days, the participants returned to taste the same five fish, however, this time they knew what kind of fish it was.

Davis was able to compare results from both tests to measure whether any name bias existed. She is scheduled to present the results in January.

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