Preliminary Assessment of Maine Consumers’ Educational Preferences for Fermenting Foods at Home

Mary Ellen Camire, Kathleen Savoie, Jennifer Perry, Beth Calder

Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 116-126, Mar 2019

Volume 39, Issue 2: Pages 116–126

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Because of growing consumer interest in home food fermentation, an online survey of Maine residents was developed for the purpose of learning the types of foods being fermented by consumers and of understanding the preferred educational media for this population. Notice of the survey was distributed to Cooperative Extension email lists and through a press release. Chi-square tests were used to analyze data on fermentation practices and demographic variables. More women than men responded to the survey (P < 0.05). Almost 60% of the 483 respondents had fermented at least one type of food or beverage at home (P < 0.05). Pickles and sauerkraut were the most commonly fermented foods. Lack of knowledge or time were the primary reasons respondents gave for not fermenting foods. Recipe websites and cookbooks were the predominant sources of information for home fermenters. The preferred formats for future educational programs were recipe websites, live hands-on workshops, and online videos. A combination of online, pre-tested recipes, along with low bandwidth videos and hands-on workshops in more populous regions, may best serve Maine residents in rural and urban locations.

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