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Cross‐Cultural Comparison of Consumer Acceptability of Kimchi with Different Degree of Fermentation

Jang, Seong‐Ho, Kim, Min‐Ji, Lim, Juyun, Hong, Jae‐Hee
Journal of sensory studies 2016 v.31 no.2 pp. 124-134
consumer acceptance, cross cultural studies, demographic statistics, fermentation, flavorings, food industry, foreign markets, hedonic scales, kimchi, pH, researchers, sourness, soybean products, traditional foods, vegetables
Strong flavor developed during fermentation can affect foreign consumer's liking of kimchi (fermented vegetables with seasonings). This study was conducted to compare the cross‐cultural preference of American versus Korean consumers for kimchi fermented to different degrees. Kimchi samples fermented to different degrees (pH 5.9, LFK; pH 4.2, MFK; and pH 3.9, HFK) were presented to American (n = 111) and Korean consumers (n = 101). The degree of liking and attribute intensities were assessed using the 9‐point hedonic scale and Just‐about‐Right scale. Consumer demographics and kimchi consumption habits were also collected. American consumers significantly preferred MFK and HFK to LFK, whereas Korean consumers did not show any significant preference among the samples. American consumers reported that the sourness and spiciness of LFK were not intense enough. The frequency of kimchi consumption by American consumers was positively associated with their preference for more fermented kimchi, while the level of fermentation of the daily consumed kimchi was well associated with Korean consumers’ preference for kimchi. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: It is challenging for food industries to launch fermented ethnic food products, such as fermented soy products and vegetables, in foreign markets because acceptability for products with different degree of fermentation may differ across culture and also based on previous experience. The present study investigated how foreign consumers accept one such food, kimchi, at different fermentation levels, particularly in relation to their previous experiences. Results of the present study can help researchers and marketers to establish more effective strategies for developing ethnic foods targeting foreign markets by providing the optimal level of fermentation accepted by foreign consumers and consumer profile. In addition, our findings on the relationship between previous exposures and liking aid in understanding potential mechanisms underlying acquisition of liking for ethnic food by foreign consumers.