Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Food Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #274107

Title: Sensory attributes and consumer acceptance of sweetpotato cultivars with varying flesh colors

item LEKSRISOMPONG, PATTARIN - North Carolina State University
item WHITSON, MAGAN - North Carolina State University
item Truong, Van Den
item DRAKE, MARYANNE - North Carolina State University

Submitted to: Journal of Sensory Studies
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2011
Publication Date: 2/1/2012
Citation: Leksrisompong, P.P., Whitson, M.E., Truong, V.D., Drake, M.A. 2012. Sensory attributes and consumer acceptance of sweetpotato cultivars with varying flesh colors. Journal of Sensory Studies. 27:59-69.

Interpretive Summary: Sweetpotatoes are nutritious and have many health benefits. The orange-fleshed cultivars are the most familiar to the US consumers, but other cultivars with varying flesh color have been introduced. However, the sensory properties of these various sweetpotatoes and the drive of consumer liking are not established. The development of a sensory lexicon for sweetpotatoes will allow for characterization of sensory properties and assist in the understanding of key attributes that drive consumer liking of this nutritious food. This study demonstrated that sweetpotatoes with unfamiliar colors were accepted by consumers as long as the other sensorial characteristics (flavor, texture, aroma and basic taste) were well liked. These results can assist breeders or marketers in understanding the impact of color and the importance of flavor and texture of sweetpotatoes for the consumer fresh market.

Technical Abstract: The sensory characteristics of sweet potatoes (n = 12 cultivars) with varying flesh color (orange, purple, yellow) and the impact of flesh colors on consumer acceptance were evaluated. A lexicon was developed for sweet potato flavor followed by consumer acceptance testing conducted with and without blindfold conditions to identify if color or visual cues impacted consumer acceptance. Cluster analysis was performed on overall liking scores followed by external preference mapping to identify the drivers of liking for sweet potatoes. The lexicon differentiated sweet potatoes. Appearance (visual appearance) positively impacted liking scores of products that were not well liked but had a lower impact on liking when the sweet potato was well liked suggesting that flavor and texture were the driving attributes for liking. Three consumer clusters were found for overall liking. All clusters liked smooth texture, brown sugar and dried apricot flavor and sweet taste and disliked bitter, umami, astringent mouth feel, vanilla aroma and residual fibers. Clusters were differentiated by the liking of visual moistness and color homogeneity, white potato, canned carrot and dried apricot flavors, chalky, firmness, denseness and fibrous texture. Sweet potatoes with unfamiliar colors were accepted by all consumers but different sensory characteristics appealed to different consumer groups.