This study was concerned with the level of acceptability and perceptions of three types of commercially produced roller-milled white maize meal namely: sifted unfortified, sifted fortified and super fortified versus hammer-mill produced white and yellow maize meal (with and without fibre) among Shangaan consumers in Giyani in the Limpopo Province, South Africa (SA). The local households produce maize grain on a small scale or buy it from small scale farmers and take it to the local small scale millers for milling for a fee. The 48 participants for this project were female consumers (eighteen years old or older). The study was divided into two phases. The aim of the first phase was to determine the difference if any in acceptability of the sensory attributes of the various maize meal types. It employed a sensory evaluation technique which is a quantitative scientific method in which numerical data was collected and analysed in order to determine and compare consumer acceptability. The aim of the second phase was to discuss the perceptions of these consumers in relation to the products and employed focus-group interviews. During phase one maize meal porridge was prepared by local community volunteers under careful supervision in a standardized manner. The porridge was served warm: two samples at a time, marked with 3-digit random codes. None of the participants had any prior information pertaining to the samples they were tasting at any time. The identity of the samples were only revealed during the focus-group interviews (phase two). Consumers preferred (liked) white sifted fortified maize meal porridge on a double blind basis more than the white sifted unfortified maize meal porridge. Hammer-mill white and hammer-mill yellow maize porridge with fibre were equally disliked by participants. There was no significant difference in the acceptability of hammer-mill white compared to yellow maize meal without fibre. No significant difference was found in preference for aroma, colour, consistency and taste between white sifted unfortified and super fortified maize meal compared to white hammer-mill maize meal without fibre. The difference in taste preference can only be attributed to the fortificant that is added commercially to the maize meal. This is quite a significant finding and different to that measured prior to the implementation of the SA National Fortification Scheme, where no impact on taste was measured. Furthermore, consumers’ preference for fortified maize meal on a double blind bias is in contrast to previous findings of research indicating a degree of dislike among consumers regarding fortified maize meal, according to maize millers’ opinion. During phase two focus-group interviews were conducted immediately following phase one. The participants sat in a cluster for these interviews. The qualitative data was transcribed verbatim into text for analysis and discussion of results. At least 40 out of 48 consumers stated that they liked the hammer-mill yellow maize meal porridge in terms of aroma, colour, texture, taste and for its nutritional value. Those in Homu 14 village stated that if the price of roller-mill maize meal was similar to that of yellow maize meal they would buy both maize types as they liked them equally but those in Mahlathi would buy yellow maize meal for nutritional reasons.
Dissertation (MConsSci (General))--University of Pretoria, 2008.