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Sensory analysis of native, Kanza, and Pawnee pecans

Ricci, Gianna
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the appearance, texture, color, and taste of two popular Oklahoma cultivars (Kanza and Pawnee) as compared to native pecans, in a blind sensory analysis. The overall objective is to establish a set of facts regarding consumer preferences for common Oklahoma pecan varieties given the notion of native pecan flavor superiority. Through the use of hedonics, consumer ratings are given for four pecan attributes — appearances, texture, flavor, and overall satisfaction — based on sensory analysis. Crossmodal sensory effects of pecan color and size on the evaluation of flavor and the overall eating experience of pecans are determined. The study was conducted over a three-year period and asked participants to complete a survey based on a blind taste-test of three pecan samples. The data was analyzed using the ordered logit model in SAS to evaluate consumer preferences and determine hedonic scores. The results show that it is not the variety of a pecan that influences consumer preferences, but rather the appearance of the pecan and most specifically the size of the pecan. The common notion within the Oklahoma pecan industry of native pecan varieties being the preferred variety due to taste is shown to be unfounded.