The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of age groups on consumer acceptance of traditional doenjang, a Korean fermented soybean paste, by blinded and informed tests. Young (20–30 years old, n = 116) and old (40–50 years old, n = 121) adults participated in consumer acceptance tests of three commercial and 11 traditional doenjang samples. Overall, acceptance slightly increased, while willingness to pay increased significantly (p < .05) in the informed test compared with the blinded test. Throughout the cluster analysis, consumers were divided into two clusters by preference for each age group and test type. Old adults were influenced by information, and they assigned additional value to “traditional” processing, distinguishing traditional samples from commercial ones in the informed test. In contrast, the young adults did not show any significant differences in sample loading between the blinded and informed tests, implying that young consumers place no additional value on “traditional” processing of doenjang.
Age groups in the consumer acceptance test showed different consumer attitude toward a traditional food, a fermented soybean paste in this study. Consideration of age groups is critical when drastic changes in dietary habit, culture, and so on are existed in the society for the sensory evaluation of traditional foods. The finding of this study might suggest the separate consumer acceptance tests for young and old adults to obtain more insight from the products. Therefore, the industry that produce traditional foods need to consider age groups in their consumer acceptance test.