), a highly revered curative mushroom, has been commonly used for more than 2000 years due to its promotion of longevity and prevention of diseases [1
], which have drawn the attention of researchers. Furthermore, both researchers and consumers from different countries, including some Asian countries, North America, and Europe, are interested in the application of GL
in the production of health-supporting products [6
]. For example, in China, the presence of GL
extract during the fermentation process of soy milk improved the health benefits as well as the consumer acceptability of the product [7
]. Other products, such as Chinese GL Lycium chinensis
Miller tomato wine [8
] and yogurt [9
] with GL
extract added during production, have also been described. Even alcoholic beverages have been investigated; Serbian Pilsner beer and brandy had GL
added aseptically to create a better-perceived body in the beer [11
] and a brandy [12
] with functional properties. Recently, Ghobadi, et al. [13
] demonstrated that GL
powder is an effective preservative in the production of sausage or in the meat industry. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is currently no study on the development of a novel GL
grape wine product for the Australian and potential global wine markets.
There is no doubt that every consumer has a unique pattern of taste preferences, resulting in consumers displaying a diverse range of behaviors [14
] that can be difficult to interpret but could be related to differences in socio-demographics such as individual knowledge, cultural background, age, gender, etc. Market segmentation is a technique identifying consumers within a specific market who have similar wants, needs, and behaviors [15
]. Meilgaard, et al. [16
] suggested that consumers with similar attitudes might be identified by cluster analysis. Many segmentation bases have been applied in the literature, with examples for wine consumers that include liking scores [17
], knowledge, or product-related experience [20
], demographics [22
] and psychographic segmentation bases such as personality, values or interest. Besides the application of geographic, demographic and socio-economic, behavioral, and psychographic segmentation bases in the wine market, other segmentation bases in various wine market models are emerging, including those based on biology, sustainability and social media [23
]. Notably, consumer acceptance and behavior studies appear to favor hedonic clustering whereas marketing-focused research is more aligned with the other criteria such as geographic, demographic, and so on. However, the combination of these two distinct bases can provide powerful additional insights into consumer responses [14
To date, consumers’ acceptance and attitudes towards a new wine product with GL
extract in relation to liking, product knowledge, and demographic differences have not been well-documented in Australia. There is only one consumer study relating consumers’ attitudes toward a new Australian wine product containing GL
reported by Nguyen, et al. [25
], who revealed that Vietnamese consumers were more interested in new GL
wine products compared to Australian and Chinese consumers. Indeed, despite the promise of wine supplemented with traditionally revered foods such as GL
, no studies have focused on consumers’ acceptance of GL
wine products, from the perspective of individual liking and demographic differences in conjunction with sensory and chemical profiling of these beverages. In addition, distinct from the famous flavored German vermouth and Greek retsina wines that still exist today, wine products commonly available on the market are usually flavored with botanicals including fruits or spices. A GL
grape wine product on the other hand, is an innovative wine product concept as it contains functional ingredients common in traditional Asian medicine that may also possess distinctive sensory profiles appealing to current traditional and emerging wine consumer segments. Therefore, there was a need to create and investigate consumer liking of GL
wine product prototypes.
To profile products’ sensory characteristics, numerous studies have proposed several sensory methods that are suitable for naïve consumers such as napping, free choice profiling, flash profiling, check-all-that-apply (CATA), and rate-all-that-apply (RATA) [26
]. According to Jaeger and Ares [29
] and Danner, Crump, Croker, Gambetta, Johnson, and Bastian [28
], RATA is an economical and flexible rapid method suitable to reliably profile a variety of products using naïve consumers as subjects. Our previous study generated sensory and volatile flavor profiles of GL
wine products [30
]. Lower levels of extract produced smooth wines with red fruit, floral and confectionery notes, while wines with higher levels of extract were more complex with woody, dried fruit, earthy, and mushroom notes and bitter taste. The latter is likely due to the bitterness derived from the triterpenes in the GL
]. As the results indicated that the presence of differing levels of GL
extract produced wine products with distinctive attributes, these may suit varying consumer tastes. This study aimed to investigate the sensory attributes and chemical composition driving consumer clusters’ liking of GL
wine products using a consumer-centric, new product development approach. A combination of a rapid sensory method using naïve consumers (RATA), basic analytical chemistry, and volatile chemical analysis using headspace-solid-phase micro-extraction (HS-SPME) with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), followed by consumer acceptance testing, and hedonic segmentation, was employed.
Responding to these gaps in current knowledge, this study aimed to investigate:
Consumers’ acceptance of novel GL wine products.
The most preferred level of GL extract added prior to or post-fermentation in the production of these novel wines.
Consumer profiles of GL wine hedonic clusters.
The sensory attributes in GL wine products important for driving consumer hedonic cluster responses.
The identification of the sensory and chemical parameters most important to consumer GL wine products liking using prediction models.
This knowledge might assist to increase the competitiveness of the Australian wine industry locally and in its many wine export countries.
Key barriers to the rapid success of Australian wines in Australasian markets are the lack of understanding of wine consumers’ taste preferences and possibly the lack of involvement of consumers in the co-creation process of the wine. We aimed to investigate the development of a wine prototype for a specific target market, which evolved from the solicited consumer attitudes for GL-based wine presented in our previous work. Extending on that, RATA was used to assess consumer perceptions of Shiraz-based GL wine products, and the resulting sensory results in conjunction with wine composition were linked to the preference of consumer segments.
Although there were differences in hedonic scores for each GL wine corresponding to its sensory characteristics, most of the responses showed that consumers were very likely to be interested in the new Australian GL wines. The results of the study suggested that GL wines containing a low amount (i.e., 1 g/L) of GL extract, added either pre- or post-fermentation, displayed broader preference agreement and may form the basis for new wine products aimed at the market as a whole. Yet, this work also identified consumer segments that liked wines with higher GL additions, namely C3 and C4. This suggests that there is scope to make more individualized products for these specific targets. Examination of other secondary metabolites in GL wines derived from either the extract or grape will help explain sensory attributes and consumer preferences further. Leading on from this, deeper understanding of the basis of the inter-individual variation amongst consumers could be a future area of investigation, for example, profiling the consumers’ phenotypic or genotypic profiles for personalized targeting of products. In addition, consumer demographics, wine consumption behavior, and attitudes towards GL wines of each hedonic cluster were statistically described and some nuanced differences identified.
Better understanding of the chemical and sensory drivers of consumers’ perception and preference for new GL wines, and incorporating consumers in the development process (i.e., co-creation), provided a robust approach that others could adopt to obtain deeper insights into the needs of a target market for novel products. These findings may guide producers wishing to make GL wine products to incorporate production processes to promote or demote specific characters to meet specific consumers’ needs. The study was the first to explore consumers’ preference towards novel wines with different levels of GL additions. Future research is recommended to investigate how different production methods (such as winemaking with skin contact in the fermentation or with different grape varieties, oak contact, and aging) would impact sensory and chemical profiles of the GL wines for the purposes of an additional range of wine products for potential markets of the GL wine product category.