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Obushera: descriptive sensory profiling and consumer acceptability

Mukisa, I.M., Nsiimire, D.G., Byaruhanga, Y.B., Muyanja, C.M.B.K., Langsrud, T., Narvhus, J.A.
Journal of sensory studies 2010 v.25 no.s1 pp. 190-214
consumer acceptance, drying, fermentation, focus groups, grains, malting, markets, odors, raw materials, starter cultures, taste, texture, Kenya, Tanzania, Western Africa
The purpose of this study was to describe the sensory characteristics of traditionally produced Obushera and their influence on consumer acceptability using focus group discussions, a descriptive panel and a consumer acceptability panel. Four types of Obushera of commercial importance including: Obutoko and Enturire (sorghum based) plus Obuteire and Ekitiribita (millet-based) were identified. Descriptive profiles of the four types showed that they are sensorially distinct products. Preliminary studies indicated that their acceptability was significantly (P < 0.05) affected by producer and duration of fermentation. Some of the factors that influence the sensory quality of Obushera include: cereal variety, quantity of ash used during malting, length of drying period of the sprouted grain and back slopping. Obushera is a range of sensorially distinct products varying in taste, aroma and texture. These products may appeal to different consumer tastes and market segments. Variation in sensory attributes is due to the different raw materials used, stage of fermentation and to the effect of different producers among others. Therefore, efforts toward improving the production process, quality and safety of Obushera should be more product-specific. Obushera is one of the many popular traditional fermented products whose production has not yet been commercialized. This is partly due to its being a spontaneously fermented product often resulting in inconsistencies in quality. Therefore understanding the sensory characteristics of Obushera and how these relate to its acceptability is crucial in guiding the process of improving the processing of Obushera for commercial production. These results can be used to guide studies involved with selection of starter cultures and quality raw material. This study can also act as a guide to research related to similar products in Africa such as Togwa (Tanzania), Kirario (Kenya), Dolo and Pito (West Africa) among others. A more in depth consumer study involving large numbers of consumers would be necessary to confirm these findings.