Changes in preferences of plantain consumers in Puerto Rico, 2003-2008


Changes in tastes and preferences
Plantain consumption
Fresh plantain
Processed plantain

How to Cite

Cortés, M., & Gayol, L. (2012). Changes in preferences of plantain consumers in Puerto Rico, 2003-2008. The Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico, 96(1-2).


Plantain is the most important crop in Puerto Rico; however, the annual per capita consumption of plantain decreased from 27 kg in 2003 to 24 kg in 2008. This research analyzed changes in tastes and preferences in plantain consumption in Puerto Rico between 2003 and 2008. The data was collected in two surveys conducted around the Island in 2003 and 2008. The study shows that the decrease in plantain consumption is mostly due to the reduction in plantain production; 75% of the interviewed mentioned that they were still buying the same amount of plantains. In both surveys it was established that women were in charge of buying and deciding what to prepare for meals. The number of persons buying fresh plantain decreased from 98% in 2003 to 72% in 2008, whereas plantain price increased from $0.32 to $0.64 per unit between the two surveys. In 2008, 82% of consumers considered locally produced plantains as of good quality. In 2003, 14% considered that plantains were of good quality. The most mentioned parameters for determining the quality of plantains were color and size. Both years, plantains were mostly bought at the street vendors' market places, 47 and 50%. In both surveys, 36% of the interviewed used to buy processed plantain. Consumers considered the processed plantains as having good quality, 22% in 2003 and 48% in 2008. The preferred plantain products were fried plantains ('tostones'), ripe fried plantains and chips. In the 2003 survey, 94% of the consumers mentioned that they support a local plantain industry, although in 2008 a reduction of 11% was observed, 83% said they will support a local processed plantain industry. The present situation of the plantain commodity is not favorable for establishing a local plantain industry; plantain production must increase in order to supply both the fresh and processed plantain demand, at reasonable prices.


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