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Kathleen M. Kelley and Bridget K. Behe

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Kathleen M. Kelley and Bridget K. Behe

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Kathleen M. Kelley and Elsa S. Sánchez

Two separate consumer-marketing studies were conducted between 30 Oct. and 2 Dec. 2002 to determine consumer awareness and potential demand for edamame [Glycine max (L.) Merrill]. The first study consisted of a sensory evaluation that included 113 participants who tasted and rated three edamame cultivars based on firmness and overall appeal and then ranked the beans in order of preference at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus. To estimate demand, the participants answered questions regarding their likelihood to purchase edamame after the sensory evaluation. The second study, a telephone survey, was administered by a marketing firm to determine consumer awareness of edamame as well as their produce purchasing habits. Responses were collected from 401 consumers within the Metro-Philadelphia area. Consumer reaction to the sensory evaluation was positive, and after reading about the health benefits, a majority of consumers (92%) indicated they would likely purchase edamame and serve it in a meal whereas 89% gave this response after only sampling the edamame beans. When responses were compared among cultivars, overall liking for `Green Legend' (6.29; 1 = extremely dislike; 9 = like extremely) was significantly lower than for `Kenko' (6.84); however, neither cultivar was significantly different from `Early Hakucho' (6.62). Participants also rated `Kenko' as having a firmness that was `just about right'. Verbal comments from participants leaving the evaluation site included interest in purchasing edamame and inquiries as to where it could be purchased in the vicinity of the university. Telephone survey participants also expressed a willingness to purchase edamame and serve it in a meal after hearing about the potential health benefits (66%). Based on consumer responses to selected telephone survey questions, three distinct marketing segments were created. Potential purchasers (58% of participants), consisted of consumers who were more likely to consider the importance of the nutritional content of vegetables they purchased (73%), included the greatest percent of consumers who had purchased soy or soy-based products (70%), and were very likely (51%) and somewhat likely (46%) to eat edamame after learning about the health benefits. The second largest segment of participants characterized as unlikely edamame eaters (22% of participants) consisted of individuals who were very likely (20%) and somewhat likely (43%) to purchase vegetables they had never eaten before if evidence suggested that it might decrease the risk of cancer and/or other diseases. However, within this group, none of the participants were either very likely or somewhat likely to eat edamame after being told about the health benefits. The last group, characterized as requires convincing (20% of participants), consisted of individuals who were the least likely to base produce-purchasing decisions on the nutritional content of vegetables. After learning about health benefits specific to edamame, 8% of these participants were very likely and 48% were somewhat likely to eat edamame. Hence, separate marketing strategies may need to be developed to target these distinct segments based on interest in eating edamame, importance of nutritional information, and current vegetable purchasing habits.

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Kathleen M. Kelley Anderson and Mitchell King

The effect of kaolin (Surround™) on walnut quality parameters, including edible yield, reflected light index, insect damage, off grade, price per pound, and the incidence and severity of sunburn, were evaluated over a 4-year period in `Vina' and `Chandler' walnut orchards. Results indicate that applications of kaolin significantly improved edible yield, reflected light index, price per pound, and the incidence and severity of sunburn in most orchards in most years. Improvements in these parameters were more consistent with the `Vina' cultivar. Off-grade was not significantly reduced by the use of kaolin. Codling moth damage levels were too low to detect in all orchards in all years.

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Rebecca H. Wehry*, Kathleen M. Kelley and Antoinette Bilik

A direct-mail survey was administered to gain perspective of the audio/visual tools Penn State Master Gardeners currently use to teach their clientele and their comfort level with using computers and accessing the Internet. Of the 700 surveys that were distributed to active MG during the month of November 2002, 386 completed surveys were returned. Male MG were more likely to use slides (44%) and less likely to use posters (15%) than female MG to teach consumer clientele (29% and 26%, respectively). Participants from single-adult households (20%) were more likely to use PowerPoint than those from households with two or more adults (11%). A greater percentage of participants, 54 years of age and younger reported having Internet access at their home (90%) and at work (42%) compared to MG age 55 years and older (75% and 16%, respectively). Over half of the younger MG (53%) responded that they were “very comfortable” with using the Internet to search for information compared to 37% of their counterparts. Currently MG use computers as a teaching tool on a limited basis, with younger MG possessing a greater degree of comfort with both the computer and Internet. By teaching MG how to use this technology the ability to reach a large audience can increase, thus further extending the reach of this component of Cooperative Extension. Though use of high tech methods to deliver information is continually gaining momentum, the number of MG who use less technical teaching tools should also be considered and appropriate tools should remain available.

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Amy Jo Chamberlain, Kathleen M. Kelley and Jeffrey Hyde

Two separate surveys were administered (17–19 Nov. 2008 and 7–10 Apr. 2009) to consumers residing in five metropolitan areas in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States (1710 for Survey 1 and 1518 for Survey 2) to investigate and compare consumer stated preferences toward locally grown and certified organic produce. In Survey 1, participants were asked to indicate whether they agreed that purchasing locally grown produce was more important than purchasing organically grown produce. In addition, they were asked to report whether locally grown and certified organic were factors in their produce purchasing decision. Compared with their counterparts (each demographic examined independently), White/Anglos, Asian Americans, and those aged 25 years and older agreed that purchasing locally grown produce was more important than purchasing organically grown produce. A greater percentage of participants aged 37 years and older (average of 65%) and 66% of White/Anglo participants selected “produce was grown in my local area.” In addition, a greater percentage of participants aged between 21 and 64 years (average of 32%) and 48% of Asian Americans selected “produce was grown using ‘certified’ organic methods,” compared with their counterparts. In Survey 2, participants were presented with six pairwise comparisons and asked to indicate their stated preference between each of the two options, which included combinations of “locally grown,” “not locally grown,” “certified organic,” and “not certified organic.” Stated preference for locally grown produce was highest among the following participant groups (each group examined independently): those aged 37 years and older, White/Anglo participants, those without children living in their household, females, and participants with income levels $25,000 and greater. In addition, stated preference for certified organic was highest among the following groups (again, each group examined independently): those aged between 21 and 36 years; Black/African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans; those with children living in their household; females; and participants with income levels of $25,000 and greater. Produce industry members in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region (e.g., farmers, distributors, retail store owners, restauranteurs, agricultural extension personnel) can incorporate this research into marketing plans, purchasing decisions, or educational or applied research programs as appropriate.

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Kathleen M. Kelley, James C. Sellmer and Rebecca H. Robert

An Internet survey was conducted from 28 May to 8 June 2008 to investigate consumer awareness and interest in attending programming offered at The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA). The study was designed to investigate what traditional and non-traditional programs might attract community members to the arboretum and to identify potential barriers, perceived or real, that might discourage community members from visiting the arboretum. Among demographic groups, more females were interested in “hands-on workshops” (42.5%) and “fact sheets, instructional bulletins, and how-to guides” (37.4%) than males (26.8% and 26.3%, respectively). In examining events and activities, significant differences were found for “wine tasting and tours” and “outdoor concerts and live performances” based on household income; however, no significant differences were found among age groups and other demographics tested. Differences in interest in other activities were apparent based on number of adults and number of children in the household. Public gardens and arboreta can use this information as the foundation for modifying programs and services offered, though input from the community and trialing of alternative programs should be considered before completely changing programs and services offered.

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Kathleen M. Kelley, James C. Sellmer and Rebecca H. Robert

Two studies were conducted to better understand arboreta and community members' attitudes toward programming and benefits offered at arboreta and public gardens. The first study, a mail survey sent to arboreta members, included questions regarding what encourage them to become members and the services they value pertaining to their paid membership. The second study, an Internet survey of consumers residing within a 30-mile radius of the arboreta, also focused on interest in leisure activities and interest in traditional, gardening-related programs offered at the arboreta in an effort to understand what might increase membership. Over half of the members (62.5%) responded that they were “completely satisfied,” with only 3.4% selecting “neither dissatisfied nor satisfied” or some level of “dissatisfied.” The top three reasons that motivated members to join the arboretum's association included “benefits offered” (28.2%), followed by providing the “arboretum with financial support” (22.9%), and “to attend horticultural educational programs at a discounted rate” (22.6%). Interest level in gardening appeared to be greater among arboreta members compared with community members, on the basis of the percentage of both groups who self-identified with phrases such as “skilled and knowledgeable” and “enjoys spending time gardening.” Arboreta member interest in garden programming activities differed from those of local community respondents in all categories except “outdoor concerts and live performances,” “wine tasting and tours,” and “painting and drawing.” The one program/activity that appeared to be more of interest to community members than arboreta members was “cooking and entertaining,” with community members returning an average mean rating of 4.77 (1 = “very disinterested,” 7 = “very interested”) and arboreta members returning an average mean rating of 4.29. On the basis of the results of the survey and the strong interest expressed by both survey groups in program activities offered, arboreta staff should consider offering programming that appeals to both current members and community members at large and in an effort to assure a sustainable membership level.

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Michael S. McCoy, Kathleen M. Kelley and Dan T. Stearns

The Associated Landscape Contractors of America reported in 2004 that the lawn and landscape industry experienced considerable growth during the last 10 years: an increase of 31% from 2002 to 2003, and 126% from 1998 to 2003. An understanding by landscaping professionals of what factors influence consumers' evaluation and selection process when purchasing landscaping services is instrumental in formulating business and marketing plans that will more effectively target new customers, increase the customer base, and ultimately increase profits. To determine these factors, a questionnaire was developed and mailed to 5000 randomly selected households in the metro-Philadelphia area. Recipients were asked to consider factors deemed relevant to the selection and purchase of a landscaping service provider and rank them in order of importance. Questions pertaining to both the landscape industry, such as types of services purchased or how much was spent on these services, and the participants' demographic status were included. A total of 504 completed surveys were received, representing a 10% response rate. Results indicated that the “quality of work” factor was most important, followed by “cost,” and “types of services offered” when analyzed by both the frequency as well as by an average mean ranking of factors. Further analysis of results showed little or no influence on the ordering of factors by independent variables, such as types of service purchased, how much was spent on the service(s), household income, or education levels of the participants.

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Dru N. Montri, Kathleen M. Kelley and Elsa S. Sánchez

Two studies were conducted to determine consumer interest in fresh, in-shell edamame [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] and acceptance of two edamame-based patties. An in-store consumer research study was conducted in metropolitan Philadelphia to determine consumer demand for and interest in fresh, in-shell edamame. In fall 2004, plastic clamshells of edamame were placed in the produce department of four supermarkets. Consumers who purchased the clamshells were asked to return a survey that was attached to the container. Of the 480 clamshells that were delivered to the four selected supermarkets, 312 (65.0%) were purchased and 33 (10.6%) of the surveys were returned. All respondents indicated that they had heard of or were familiar with edamame before purchasing the container, and 81.2% had previously purchased edamame. Results indicate that 51.6% of respondents were more likely to purchase the edamame because it was grown in Pennsylvania, and 84.4% were more likely to purchase it because it was grown without the use of pesticides. In addition, a friend's recommendation, price, and sample of the product at the supermarket were rated highest among factors likely to affect respondents' purchasing decisions regarding new produce items. Based on the total number of packages sold and conversations with produce department managers, there appears to be a demand for fresh, in-shell edamame among supermarket consumers in metropolitan Philadelphia. A second study involving a consumer sensory evaluation was conducted in Feb. 2005 to determine consumer acceptance of two edamame-based patties. A total of 209 adults were involved, with 106 participants sampling the edamame-based patties on the first day and 103 sampling on the second day. Participants were asked to rate the patty they sampled on overall appeal, appearance, and flavor on a scale of 1 to 9 points (1 point being “dislike extremely” and 9 points being “like extremely”). Overall mean liking for the two patties was 6.38 points and 6.58 points, and mean liking for flavor was 6.44 points and 6.83 points on days 1 and 2 respectively. Based on the sample evaluated, 43.4% and 35.9% of participants, each day, indicated that they “probably would buy” or “definitely would buy” this item from a supermarket. Results suggest that consumers found the two edamame-based patties acceptable, indicating the potential for commercial production. Across the two studies, consumers expressed interest in purchasing fresh, in-shell edamame and edamame-based patties from a supermarket.