Consumer evaluation of date-by-products for exports - A quasi experimental study

Maha K. Al Balushi, Irfan Butt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The academic research has been mainly focusing on dates quality improvement and postharvest technology, whereas studies about dates by-products' development and marketing practices are still lacking. This is alarming given the recommendations put forth by researchers in the past who have identified areas of date improvements that include by-product utilization, value addition of dates, improvement of processing facilities, enhancement of marketing efforts, exports of date products. Thus, regional competition and demand for branded dates and byproducts calls for developing Omani date industry with focus on innovation. Date syrup (dibs) represents an attractive date by-product given its use in many traditional foods. However, date syrup is not currently embraced by local entrepreneurs in comparison to their regional competitive counterparts. This study aims to address the aspects of consumer evaluation of Omani date syrup as an important and valuable by-product for the purpose of product innovations and exporting. In particular, it evaluates consumers' preferences and opinion toward possible combinations of date syrup from local brands to ultimately determine some segmenting and marketing elements for date syrup. To this end, sensory test and choice experimentation are conducted for four combinations of date syrup among a sample of 84 non-Arab expatriates living in Oman. The results revealed the most preferred brand had the best taste, least thickness and medium sugar level. The subjects favoured using date syrup as an ice cream topping, followed by spread on toast, bagel, waffle or pancake and a cheese cake topping. Its use with yogurt or milk was least preferred. When subjects were asked about importance of purchase attributes, good taste turned out to be most important followed by reasonable price, no added sugar, packaging, smoothness and sweetness. However, we noticed some difference between Asians, Europeans and North Americans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4011-4023
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Business and Economic Research
Volume14
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Date syrup
  • New Product Development
  • Product Attributes
  • Purchase Preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics

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