Sorghum is a versatile, gluten-free, whole grain, yet overall human consumption of sorghum is minimal. Whole grains, such as sorghum, substituted for refined grains can enhance the nutrition content of a dish.
This research study was to determine the sensory perception and overall food preference of college-aged students when comparing sorghum to rice in a ready-made dish.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
A quasi-experimental study was conducted in a campus foodservice setting at the University of North Florida. The participants (n = 596) were randomly recruited, using convenience sampling, to blindly taste test two food samples then complete an associated sensory and perception survey. The food samples consisted of recipes identically prepared, with the substitution of sorghum for rice.
Paper and electronic sensory analysis (using hybrid hedonic scales) and food preference surveys were available after sampling.
A majority of the participants (71.9%) were ages 18-20 years old, with 42.3% selecting their educational classification as a freshman. Participants rated their overall feeling about each dish as to how often they would consume it, the response yielded a significant difference in overall mean (3.66 vs. 3.42, P = .000), with preference given to rice over sorghum. In comparing the two grain based dishes, participants indicated they would eat this every now and then to every opportunity they had with rice (55.2%) to sorghum (48.4%). Yet in response to overall acceptance of sorghum to rice, there was no significant difference.
This study provides feedback on the perception of college students on substituting a refined grain for whole grains in ready-made dishes. This preliminary study implies that acceptability for alternative grains is feasible in college-age populations and more research needs to be conducted on overall perception of alternative grains in ready-made dishes.