Potential for Sweet Potato Pickles

November 4/Orissa, India/News of Science -- "The success of any novel food product is largely determined by the consumer acceptance of its sensory quality. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the sensory attributes of lactic acid-fermented sweet potato (SP) pickles with the prospective consumers to develop a statistical model for predicting consumer acceptance decisions," investigators in India report.

"The pickles prepared from beta carotene- and anthocyanin-rich SP varieties in 8 and 10% salt (NaCl) solutions were evaluated for their sensory attributes, i.e., appearance, color, texture, aroma and sourness, by 100 rural consumers from the Orissa state of India during 2008. The consumers liked SP pickle made in 8% NaCl solution. The logistic regression modeling of the sensory and consumer attributes revealed that the sourness (Wald statistic = 11.328, P = 0.001) and aroma (Wald statistic = 8.374, P = 0.004) of the SP pickle determined the consumer acceptability. Analysis also showed that the highly educated consumers were most likely to accept this SP pickle (Wald statistic = 5.038, P = 0.025)," wrote P.S. Sivakumar and colleagues.

The researchers concluded, "The rural people living in the geographically and socially isolated places of developing countries are often plagued by acute malnutrition. Fortifying the staple foods with essential nutrients is an effective strategy to eradicate malnutrition through natural means. Sweet potato (SP) is cultivated extensively in the rain-fed and hilly tracts of India and is a popular secondary staple food for tribes during off season. Vegetable pickles are popular adjuncts in India, which are consumed regularly along with staple foods. Thus, the pickles prepared from antioxidant-rich SP can provide essential nutrients like beta-carotene and anthocyanin which can help the rural people to eradicate malnutrition at a cheaper cost. Besides, statistical modeling of the SP pickle acceptance decisions can help the policymakers to identify potential consumer segments for promoting this pickle."

Sivakumar and colleagues published their study in the Journal of Sensory Studies ("Consumer Acceptance of Lactic Acid-fermented Sweet Potato Pickle." Journal of Sensory Studies, 2010;25(5):706-719).

For additional information, contact P.S. Sivakumar, Cent. Tuber Crops Research Institute, Reg Center, PO Dumduma HBC, Bhubaneswar 751019, Orissa, India.

From the November 15, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition