This study, performed through a survey, sought to investigate the quality attributes and the artisanal preservation and processing methods of fresh shrimps along the local merchandising chain in the Ouémé-Plateau and Mono Districts in the South of Benin. The survey was in the form of interviews administrated through a questionnaire and observations of shrimp's processors at work. The information gathered focused on the socio-cultural profile of actors, the types of raw materials used, the processing techniques, the quality attributes and the storage of fresh and processed shrimps as well. The data collected were analysed by means of descriptive statistics and correspondence analysis. Through the results it appeared that shrimps processing and commercialization are female activities of various socio-cultural groups including: Pédah (35%), Sahouè (9%), Xwla (20%), Aïzo (20%), Goun (16%) and Kotafon (1%). On the local markets, shrimps offer is constituted of smoked shrimps powder (40%), entire smoked shrimps (32.6%), fresh shrimps (26.6 %) and fried shrimps (0.7%). Fresh shrimp’s quality is assessed through the colour, the odour and the size while the smoked ones are appreciated by the colour, the integrity, the firmness, the size and the taste.
Key words: Sea food, processing, smoking, frying, quality attributes, local market.
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