This report presents the results from an Italian study on the improvement of cheese quality in the organic sector. The Quality Function Deployment technique has been applied. The data show that among the visual characteristics of ‘pecorino’ (sheep milk) cheese, consumers assign the greatest importance to animal welfare, origin, and production process. Price and product appearance (colour and presence of holes in cheese) are of secondary importance. To meet these needs, producers can effectively operate along the supply chain by acting on: sheep feed composition, housing, genotype lines and stocking density (number of sheep per m2). Animal welfare, which is shown to be the most important aspect for the consumer, can be enhanced by means of the housing and stocking density. The less important issues, although not of secondary importance in terms of food safety, are those that affect cheese maturing, production technology, and dairy milk treatment.
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