Sources of fertilizer is one of the major factors influencing baby spinach leaf texture, sweetness, bitterness and after-taste. However, the effects of fertilizer sources on baby spinach growth performance and consumer preferences are not known. A survey was carried out at the Seke Teachersâ€™ College community, Zimbabwe to determine the consumer preferences on the baby spinach grown under cattle, poultry, goat manure and compound D (7% N, 14% P, 7% K). A study used 32 females and 30 males as respondents. Organoleptic tests were performed for the baby spinach leaves using a panel of 62 testers. An interval line scale (16 cm long) was used to measure the liking for sweetness, colour, bitterness and after-taste. A 9-point hedonic scale was used to decide the overall preference. The data was log transformed and subjected to analysis of variance. Organoleptic tests showed no significant differences in appearance and taste among the sources of fertilizer used. Nevertheless, the baby spinach grown on organic fertilizers was preferred more compared to that grown on compound D fertilizer (control). Therefore it is recommended to use organic fertilizers in baby spinach production in order to satisfy consumer preferences.
Keywords: fertilizer, organic, palatability, preferences, residual chemicals