Consumer sensory evaluation of honey across age cohorts in Slovakia
Keywords:consumer research, sensory evaluation, honey, generations, Slovakia,
The growing popularity of honey among consumers has caused many frauds and cases when honey of high quality is adulterated by cheap imported honey of very low quality. The aim of this research paper was to study consumer perception of honey quality based on sensory attributes such as taste, aroma, colour and consistency. The primary research comprised the sensory blind test conducted as a part of questionnaire survey at selected shopping mall and at university. Research sample reached 400 respondents living in the Nitra region between 18 and 70 years. Respondents tested sensory attributes of two samples. Sample A represented Slovak honey from a local beekeeper and sample B was honey purchased from selected supermarket with country of origin „blend of EU and non - EU honeys" and represented imported honey. Besides descriptive statistics, the following statistical tests were applied: Fisher's Exact Test, Chi-Square Test of Independence, Cramer´V coefficient and Mann-Whitney U test. Results showed significant differences in perception of honey quality across age cohorts. Respondents older than 40 years (Generation X and Babyboomers) evaluated better the local honey from a beekeeper (sample A) than younger generations (Generation Y and Generation Z). Imported honey from selected supermarket (sample B) obtained the best evaluation in case of colour in both age cohorts while sample A obtained it in terms of aroma. The majority of respondents in both age cohorts mostly decided their preference according to taste, however there exist some differences. While Generation X and Baby boomers took into consideration also aroma, the generations Y and Z considered consistency. More interesting observation appealed in case of aroma where more than 90% of respondents, who decided according to aroma, preferred sample A - local Slovak honey. According to physico-chemical analysis, both samples fulfilled standard of EU legislation, however better parameters were reached in sample A. All in all, better perception of honey quality through sensory attributes in older age cohorts could be caused by the deeper experience in honey consumption as well as due to the fact that younger cohorts consume more semiproducts and industrial food products characterised by intensive, sweet taste which could confuse their assessments.
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