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Effect of Familiarity on a Cross‐Cultural Acceptance of a Sweet Ethnic Food: A Case Study with Korean Traditional Cookie (Yackwa)

Hong, J.H., Park, H.S., Chung, S.J., Chung, L., Cha, S.M., Lê, S., Kim, K.O.
Journal of sensory studies 2014 v.29 no.2 pp. 110-125
case studies, consumer acceptance, cookies, food industry, markets, multicultural diversity, product development, sweetness, texture, traditional foods
This study was conducted to understand the relationship between familiarity and cross‐cultural acceptance for an ethnic sweet treat (Yackwa; Korean traditional cookie) by Korean, Japanese and French consumers. Descriptive analysis and consumer testing were performed on six Yackwa samples. Overall, the samples received favorable responses from the foreign consumers. Korean consumers liked samples with a soft and cohesive texture, whereas Japanese and French consumers liked flaky and crispy texture. French consumers rated stronger sweetness to be more appropriate for Yackwa compared to Korean and Japanese consumers. Texture liking was strongly correlated with familiarity rating in all three countries, indicating that the consumers' previous experience with similar products might affect their preference for certain textural attributes. Familiarity was correlated with all hedonic ratings by Korean consumers, who are most familiar with Yackwa, but with overall and texture liking by Japanese consumers and flavor and texture liking by French consumers. These results suggest that familiarity partly contributes to a foreign consumers' hedonic rating. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Globalization and cultural diversity have increased interest in ethnic foods. This trend is motivating food industries to expand into the ethnic food market sector. In this study, the sensory attributes and the cross‐cultural acceptability of Yackwa (Korean traditional cookie) were evaluated and the potential role of familiarity in determining consumer acceptance was measured. The outcome of this study will help food exporters, R&D scientists and food marketers in ethnic food market to optimize an ethnic food for other cultural communities by educating them to consider familiarity as an important factor for product development and promotion.