Focus On Consumers To Increase Sales

For years, the basic recommendations for handling of fruit after harvest have been to avoid physical injury and store the product at the lowest safe temperature. The focus has been to extend the usable life of the product for as long as possible to provide more flexibility in marketing the commodity. Such a focus on maximizing time after harvest and aversion to risk of product loss has resulted in the fruit industry losing sight of the consumer. On average, consumers in the U.S. eat only two servings of fruits and vegetables per day, far lower than the five servings that are recommended. If U.S. consumers began to follow the recommended servings of two cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables in the USDA Food Guide Pyramid, this would represent a 50% increase in consumption and thereby a similar increase in production and sales to meet the demand.

Flavor Potential

While several factors contribute to the low consumption of fruits and vegetables, it is clear that dissatisfaction with flavor is a key contributor. Long shelflife varieties, minimum harvest maturity, lowest storage and shipping temperatures, and extended time from harvest to consumption are not generally compatible with optimum flavor quality and consumer satisfaction. Long shelflife varieties may not be the varieties with optimum flavor quality. In many breeding programs, the focus on yield, disease resistance, shelflife, and fruit size often preclude a significant focus on flavor potential. Harvest maturity has a clear link with flavor potential; early harvested fruit produce fewer flavor compounds and have lower sugar content than later harvested fruit from the same field. Recent studies have clearly shown how exposure of fruit to low temperatures reduces their flavor quality, too. In addition, flavor life is always shorter than appearance life, highlighting the need for expedited handling and rapid marketing.

All components of the supply chain play a role in determining consumer satisfaction. For example, the grower or grower/shipper determines if a variety with good flavor potential is selected for planting. Making this choice may result in lower yield or greater disease susceptibility, thereby increasing costs to the grower. For this to be feasible, the buyer must recognize the enhanced flavor potential of the variety and compensate the grower through a higher price or more consistent business to compensate for his loss in yield.

The grower also determines harvest maturity. The retailer, in cooperation with the grower/shipper, must be willing to accept a somewhat higher risk of losses due to over-ripe fruit, understanding that the overall customer satisfaction with his produce will increase along with his sales, compensating for the increase in losses. Such a dynamic has been demonstrated with the marketing of ripened pear fruit, where sales increased three-fold, more than compensating for a small increase in losses. Unless the retailer agrees to accept a few more over-ripe fruit and also begins to reject under-mature or under-ripe loads, this change in harvest maturity will not be possible.

Research conducted at universities, USDA, and private companies related to handling of fruit after harvest has focused for many years on how to maximize life after harvest. The focus is shifting to how to deliver maximum quality to consumers economically and feasibly. Such a change in focus will be challenging for the fruit industry to achieve, but in the end will result in greater sales and increased consumption of fruits by U.S. consumers.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Golden Rice
CitrusAnti-GMO-Fueled Threats Force Reallocation Of Biotech Education Funds
August 27, 2015
University of Florida officials say plans are to re-allocate a donation intended to improve the public’s understanding of science after Read More
ProductionNew Vegetable Grafting Technique Reduces Labor
August 27, 2015
Researchers patent a process to eliminate rootstock with the goal of making grafting more affordable in the U.S. Read More
money
CitrusMonsanto Drops Current Bid For Syngenta Acquisition
August 27, 2015
Even with a revised proposal that sweetened the pot to $46.2 billion, financial expectations still fall flat. Read More
Jim McFerson
Apples & PearsNew Director At Washington Fruit Research Center Has Familiar Face
August 27, 2015
Jim McFerson, former manager at the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, takes over at the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. Read More
Apples & PearsIt’s Been A Tough Year For Pacific Northwest Growers
August 27, 2015
So far, 2015 is not treating the Pacific Northwest tree fruit industry all that well. We knew the record apple Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCalifornia’s Citrus Growers Face More Challenges Than Huanglongbing
August 27, 2015
As a kid growing up we all remember the arrival of Barnum & Bailey’s circus. The ads, the posters, the Read More
Leafy VegetablesThe Latest Vegetable Varieties For Covered Production
August 27, 2015
Check out cucumber, pepper and tomato offerings available from DeRuiter, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Rijk Zwaan, and Syngenta. The greenhouse varieties are Read More
Leafy VegetablesIceberg Lettuce Prices Up In California’s Abnormal Weather Conditions
August 26, 2015
Price may be up but the heat and humidity are diminishing quality. Read More
Postharvest HandlingTechnology Helping To Bring That “Fresh-Picked” Peach To Consumers
August 26, 2015
Imagine what it’s like to pick a fresh peach off of a tree in an orchard. The smell, the texture Read More
FruitsDo You Have #FarmFans? If Not, You Should
August 26, 2015
Your guests are already live tweeting their experiences of visiting your farm. Why not turn this into a social experience to promote your business? Read More
The Latest
Golden Rice
CitrusAnti-GMO-Fueled Threats Force Reallocation Of Biotech E…
August 27, 2015
University of Florida officials say plans are to re-allocate a donation intended to improve the public’s understanding of science after Read More
ProductionNew Vegetable Grafting Technique Reduces Labor
August 27, 2015
Researchers patent a process to eliminate rootstock with the goal of making grafting more affordable in the U.S. Read More
money
CitrusMonsanto Drops Current Bid For Syngenta Acquisition
August 27, 2015
Even with a revised proposal that sweetened the pot to $46.2 billion, financial expectations still fall flat. Read More
Jim McFerson
Apples & PearsNew Director At Washington Fruit Research Center Has Fa…
August 27, 2015
Jim McFerson, former manager at the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, takes over at the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. Read More
Apples & PearsIt’s Been A Tough Year For Pacific Northwest Grow…
August 27, 2015
So far, 2015 is not treating the Pacific Northwest tree fruit industry all that well. We knew the record apple Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCalifornia’s Citrus Growers Face More Challenges Than H…
August 27, 2015
As a kid growing up we all remember the arrival of Barnum & Bailey’s circus. The ads, the posters, the Read More
Leafy VegetablesThe Latest Vegetable Varieties For Covered Production
August 27, 2015
Check out cucumber, pepper and tomato offerings available from DeRuiter, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Rijk Zwaan, and Syngenta. The greenhouse varieties are Read More
Leafy VegetablesIceberg Lettuce Prices Up In California’s Abnormal Weat…
August 26, 2015
Price may be up but the heat and humidity are diminishing quality. Read More
Postharvest HandlingTechnology Helping To Bring That “Fresh-Picked…
August 26, 2015
Imagine what it’s like to pick a fresh peach off of a tree in an orchard. The smell, the texture Read More
FruitsDo You Have #FarmFans? If Not, You Should
August 26, 2015
Your guests are already live tweeting their experiences of visiting your farm. Why not turn this into a social experience to promote your business? Read More
NutsAlmonds Contribute Little To Carbon Emissions
August 25, 2015
Compared to other nutrient-dense foods, the carbon footprint of almonds is small. Read More
NutsAlmond Board Continues Legacy Of Funding Important Rese…
August 25, 2015
A $2.5 million investment in third-party research aims to improve almond farming sustainability. Read More
Stone FruitSeminar Set For Florida Growers Seeking To Probe Furthe…
August 25, 2015
One-day event will feature an agenda focusing on varieties, crop protection, marketing, and more. Read More
Crop ProtectionOnline Help In Determining ID Of Small Parasitic Wasps
August 25, 2015
A web-based document helps users navigate to the correct genus or species of a wasp. Read More
FruitsTraining Session To Use Online Water Management Tool
August 25, 2015
Workshop to be held at the University of California will cover CropManage, an online tool that can be used to manage water in a variety of vegetable crops. Read More
HarvestingNorthwest Cherry Growers Release Preliminary Season Rep…
August 25, 2015
Northwest Cherry Growers (NWCG) report a preliminary shipped crop total of 20.52 million boxes. The record for June was 12.6 Read More
Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg
CitrusCounting Down The Top U.S. Colleges For Natural Resourc…
August 25, 2015
STEM-fueled area of study presents wide field of opportunity for future grads. Read More
Leafy VegetablesNational Kale Day Gains Momentum
August 25, 2015
October event expands with key partnerships.   Read More