The sensory uniqueness of Hungarian paprika and its significance in imagemaking

Monday, December 7, 2015

Authors: Erzsébet Szabó, Viktória Szűcs




Kalocsa and Szeged paprika are among our most famous hungaricums. Changes that occurred in the paprika sector in recent decades (e.g., admixing of import paprika with

domestic commercial paprika due to decreasing domestic production) made the time right to research the unique properties of Hungarian paprika, in order to strengthen its

old reputation and promote its domestic marketing.


Following the selection of representative samples from ground paprika obtained from large and small domestic plants, from small producers and paprika importers (5 Kalocsa, 5 Szeged, 10 Hungarian and 10 imported paprika for admixing), a simplified expert sensory profile test and a user sensory ranking test (by non-professional consumers and hospitality professionals) were performed. By multifactor statistical analysis, the sensory difference between domestic and imported paprika samples was confirmed.


By processing the results of the expert panel using multidimensional scaling, the sample groups of Hungarian and foreign paprikas could be separated, which is demonstrated on a two-dimensional figure (map). The procedures used did not make it possible to differentiate Kalocsa and Szeged paprika from each other, or from other Hungarian paprikas. To be able to do se, further studies are needed.


User sensory tests were performed with non-professional consumers (223 people) and hospitality professionals (47 people). User ranking tests involving three domestic, three

foreign and one mixed sampledid not confirm our hypothesis that, in blind tests, domestic paprika is more popular than the imported one. At the same time, a trend for better preference of domestic paprikas could be shown.

Overall, when compared to imported paprikas used for admixing, our test results showed the more pleasant aroma, spicier taste and bright, less deep color of domestic paprikas.

On the one hand, our results suggest the necessity of consumer education and information about the characteristics of Hungarian paprika, in order for Hungarian paprikas to be preferred. On the other hand, it is recommended that producers take more effective quality management steps to preserve product properties and to market products with more pronounced characters, particularly in the case of products with protected designation of origin (Kalocsa, Szeged).


2. Introduction and literature review


2.1. The role of paprika in gastronomy, its growing and marketing


The growth and use of this spice that was introduced in Hungary through the Turks in the fifteenth century began to be more widespread in our country at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century, especially in the Southern Great Plain region [1]. First, paprika was used by the poor as a substitute for black pepper [2], however, the spice of the shephers slowly, over the centuries, has become the characteristic spice of Hungarian cuisine.

A characteristic, distinguishing feature of Hungarian cuisine is the use of paprika, usually together with some kind of fat and onions (e.g., stew, goulash, fish soup and other soups, different one-dish meals). In addition, ground paprika is an essential component of many of our meat products, especially sausages and salamis. In Hungary, the average daily paprika consumption is around 1.3 grams, corresponding

to roughly 0.5 kg annually [3]. The use of paprika as a food in Hungary is almost four times higher than the European average [2]. At the same time, there has been a steady decrease in the paprika use of households, which can be explained partly by a decline in home cooking, and partly by the increasing preference for the dishes of different national (e.g., Italian, French) cuisines [4].

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