Full Length Research Paper
Reaching the second UN Sustainable Development Goal requires improving the nutritional value of food products and dietary diversity. Simultaneously, recent research highlights the importance of processing highly nutritious but underutilized African leafy vegetables (ALV) for lowering post-harvest losses and bridging off-season gaps. Combining both goals, it seems promising to utilize neglected ALV for enhancing conventional food items that are already well accepted in consumer diets but low in nutritional value. Therefore, this study analyzes consumer demand for maize (Zea mays L.) and millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn) porridges combined with cowpea leaf powder (Vigna unguiculata L.Walp) (CLP) in Kayunga, Uganda. The study relies on combining sensory analysis with a binding Becker-DeGroot-Marschak auction to analyze consumer demand. Results show that consumer acceptance of CLP-enhanced porridges is predominantly shaped by sensory perception (p < 0.05). Although adding CLP lowers consumers’ sensory appreciation, the study still identifies a reasonably large group of consumers, nearly 50% of the participants, who valued CLP-enhanced porridges as much as plain ones. This justifies the conclusion that adding CLP is not without risks but is accepted among many consumers and can thus help to promote the consumption of locally available plants. For future product development, we recommend that priority is given to sensory attributes, and special focus is placed on consumers who barely incorporate fresh vegetables into their diets.
Key words: African leafy vegetables, Uganda, willingness to pay, sensory analysis, porridge.
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