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Lexicon Development, Consumer Acceptance, and Drivers of Liking of Quinoa Varieties

Geyang Wu, Carolyn F. Ross, Craig F. Morris, Kevin M. Murphy
Journal of food science 2017 v.82 no.4 pp. -
Chenopodium quinoa, chewiness, color, commercialization, consumer acceptance, flavor, industry, odors, quinoa grain, taste, terminology, texture, varieties
Quinoa is becoming increasingly popular, with an expanding number of commercially available varieties. To compare the sensory properties of these quinoa varieties, a common sensory lexicon needs to be developed. Thus, the objective of this sudy was to develop a lexicon of cooked quinoa and examine consumer acceptance of diverse varieties. A trained panel (n = 9) developed aroma, taste/flavor, texture, and color descriptors to describe the sensory properties of 21 quinoa varieties. In addition, texture of the cooked quinoa was determined using a texture analyzer. Results indicated that the developed lexicon could distinguish among these quinoa varieties, showing significant differences in aromas, taste/flavors, and texture attributes. Specifically, quinoa variety effects were observed for the aromas of caramel, nutty, buttery, grassy, earthy, and woody; taste/flavor of sweet, bitter, grain-like, nutty, earthy, and toasty; and firm, cohesive, pasty, adhesive, crunchy, chewy, astringent, and moist textures. Three varieties, "Q74," "Linares," and CO407D," exhibited an adhesive texture that has not been described in other commercialized quinoa. Subsequent consumer evaluation (n=100) on 6 selected samples found that the "Commercial Red" sample was the most accepted overall whereas the least accepted was the field variety "QQ74." For all consumers, overall acceptance of quinoa was driven by higher intensities of grassy aroma, and firm and crunch texture. Segmentation of the consumers into 4 groups was explored and showed that consumers varied in their acceptance of specific attributes, particularly texture. From the present study, the quinoa lexicon and key drivers of consumer acceptance can be utilized in the industry to evaluate quinoa varieties, product quality and processing procedures.