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Identification of sensory characteristics that drive consumer preferences of commercially mass‐produced doenjang in Korea

Kim, Mina K., Kwak, Han Sub, Kim, Mi Jeong, Kim, Sang Sook
Journal of sensory studies 2018 v.33 no.2 pp. e12323
consumer acceptance, consumer attitudes, consumer preferences, consumers (people), fermented fish, fish sauce, markets, principal component analysis, soy sauce, soybean paste, soybeans, traditional foods, umami, Korean Peninsula
The objective of this study was to identify the drivers of liking for commercially mass‐produced doenjang (fermented soybean paste) among Korean consumers, by correlating the results from descriptive analysis and consumer acceptance testing. Ten doenjang samples were tested, seven of which were manufactured through a modified method and three via applying traditional method for mass production. Significant differences were found in all sensory attributes among the samples (p < .05). The principal component analysis of the descriptive analysis revealed clear discrimination among doenjang samples, according to their sensory characteristics: one group favored mild flavors (high in “sweet” and “umami” tastes and “cooked soybean flavor,” while the other preferred strong fermentation‐related flavors, such as “musty,” “biting,” “soy sauce,” and “fermented fish sauce.” Overall, consumer preference was directed toward doenjang that is high in sweet and umami tastes, meaning that customers favored doenjang produced by the modified method more than traditional‐style doenjang. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: The doenjang market is currently greatly expanding, as consumer interests in health and traditional foods are increasing. Therefore, it is more important than ever to identify the sensory characteristics driving consumer preference, in order to meet consumer expectations. The present study identified consumers who preferred traditional doenjang characteristics as well as sweet and umami characteristics. This suggests the direction in which to proceed in optimizing doenjang flavors, in order to ensure that they match Korean consumer preferences.