Consumption of muscadine grape by-products: an exploration among Southern US consumers
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Purpose: Consumption of muscadine grapes and their by-products (e.g. skins, seeds, wine and juice) is often discussed in terms of their alleged health- related properties (e.g. high content of resveratrol, phenolics and antioxidants). Almost no information, however, is available from an academic perspective on consumers' association with this food, including their knowledge, actual consumption of muscadines or by-products they associate with muscadine grapes. This study seeks to add to the limited existing knowledge on muscadine grapes and their by-products exploring these areas. Design/methodology/approach: A sample of consumers from a Southern US town, where muscadine grapes are native, was chosen. A total of 189 participated completing a questionnaire. Findings: Overall, respondents indicated familiarity with muscadine grapes and by-products (e.g. wine, jams, juice), but predominantly the more mature respondents related much more to those by-products than the younger consumer groups. Concerning muscadine wines, while 56.6 per cent of respondents were familiar with this product, and 45.5 per cent considered their consumption experience satisfying to very satisfying, 67.7 per cent either never buy them or seldom do so, suggesting very limited attachment with muscadine grapes. Research limitations/implications: Choosing one single geographic location (a Southern US town) and the number of participants are two limitations of this study. Practical implications: Given the importance of muscadine grapes and their by-products for the Southern region, particularly culturally, traditionally and for consumers in general in terms of beneficial health-related properties, an argument is made concerning the need to promote this ancient food. The role of the hospitality and tourism sector, government, agricultural and consumer groups is therefore suggested in promoting, marketing and other forms conducive to raising the profile of muscadine by-products. Originality/value: The study focuses on a food (muscadines) and environment (the Southern US region) that despite their cultural importance continue to be under-researched - even ignored - by much of the contemporary consumer behaviour, hospitality and other literature.