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  • Author or Editor: Weidong Ke x
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Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.) is an underused edible aquatic perennial vegetable currently evaluated as a potential functional food source and promoted in the southeastern United States as a rich source of phytonutrients. There is a paucity of information concerning consumer acceptance and willingness to purchase edible, value-added lotus products in the southeastern United States. The purpose of this exploratory study was to evaluate the potential demand and consumer preference for fresh lotus rhizomes and value-added products namely lotus salad, baked lotus chips, and lotus stir-fry. Results of two taste panels indicated that lotus stir-fry was the most preferred value-added product with 77% of participants strongly liking stir-fry, whereas 92% of the participants were willing to recommend this preparation. Results suggest socioeconomic characteristics such as gender (P = 0.014), age (P = 0.005), income (P = 0.043), education (P = 0.003), shopping habits (P = 0.013), and type of meal purchased (P = 0.004) are the factors affecting consumer choice and willingness to recommend lotus stir-fry. Results provide information on consumer acceptance of fresh lotus rhizomes and value-added products. Findings of this case study will assist in analyzing consumer behavior and development of sustainable niche markets for locally cultivated fresh edible lotus rhizomes.

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