Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Nutrition & Food Science (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Joelle Romanchik-Cerpovicz


Kudzu, also known as kuzu, is a rapidly growing, vine invasive in the Southeastern United States following introduction for soil erosion control in the late 19th century. Native to Southeastern Asia, its roots are rich in starch which has been used in traditional Eastern cuisine as a sauce thickener. Use of kudzu starch in Western cuisine is limited. This study compared the consistency, percent sag, and consumer acceptability of whole milk vanilla pudding prepared with kudzu starch to vanilla pudding prepared with cornstarch, a more commonly used thickening agent in the United States (control). The consistency (Bostwick Consistometer; 50°C) and percent sag (4°C; 24h) of the puddings did not differ. In addition, fifty-one consumers evaluated appearance, smell, creaminess, flavor, aftertaste, and overall acceptability of the puddings using a hedonic scale (9=extremely like, 5= neutral, 1=extremely dislike). Willingness to purchase was also evaluated (9=definitely yes, 5=neutral, 1=definitely no). Overall acceptability of whole milk kudzu starch-thickened vanilla pudding was positive (7.0+/-1.3) and did not significantly differ from corn starch-thickened vanilla pudding (6.2+/-1.8). Appearance, smell, creaminess, flavor, and aftertaste of both puddings were also liked (means+/-SD>5.0) and did not significantly differ. Finally, consumers were similarly willing to purchase (means+/-SD>5.0) both puddings. This work shows that kudzu starch is acceptable as a cornstarch substitute in dairy-based vanilla pudding and may be recommended by registered dietitians as a value-added alternative to corn starch in pudding preparation. Future studies will determine if kudzu starch is similarly acceptable when the fat content of puddings is varied.