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1. PERCEIVED QUALITY OF COCONUT SUGAR BY PRODUCERS, TRADERS AND DOWNSTREAM INDUSTRIES IN INDRAGIRI HILIR DISTRICT, RIAU PROVINCE, INDONESIA
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Author(s) : Yeni Kusumawaty*, Evy Maharani, Susy Edwina.
Keywords : Brown sugar, coconut sugar, perceived quality, consumer preference, gula kelapa, SII
Abstract: Coconut sugar (gula kelapa) production is a common economic activity of coconut farmers in the Indragiri Hilir District. It is concentrated in the Tempuling sub-district. The producers have low bargaining positions compared to that of the traders or wholesalers. Producers’ lack of knowledge about end-consumers’ perceptions of good quality coconut sugar makes the situation worse. The study was aimed at identifying the perceived quality by the producers, traders and buyers of coconut sugar. Aspects of quality assessed were colour, texture, aroma, flavour, hygiene, weight, shape, shelf-life and packaging. In general, the producers, traders and industries shared similar quality perceptions of coconut sugar which is similar to the Industrial Standard of Indonesia (SII). However, there were differences in colour preferences. The majority of producers preferred pale colour coconut sugar while the majority of the traders and industries preferred reddish brown coconut sugar. These findings offer guidelines for the producers to reconsider the use of sodium metabisulphite which has been used to enhance pale-colour coconut sugar