How To Serve Up Guaranteed Satisfaction

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 the time after harvest and aversion to risk of product loss has resulted in the produce 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. In many breeding programs, the focus on yield, disease resistance, shelflife, and fruit size often preclude a significant focus on flavor potential.

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 might 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.

Harvest Maturity

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

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

Cucurbits14 Stand-Out Melon Varieties [Slideshow]
September 15, 2014
Browse the slideshow below for information on these exceptional melon varieties from the nation’s leading seed breeders and distributors. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardView Highlights From The 2014 United Fresh Washington P…
September 15, 2014
Browse this slideshow to view photos from the 2014 United Fresh Washington Public Policy Conference, including pictures of this year’s Grower Read More
Apples & PearsCanneries Hope To Encourage Growers To Grow Pears For P…
September 15, 2014
Higher wholesale prices offered as means to boost canning pear acres. Read More
FruitsDeadline Nearing For Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistanc…
September 15, 2014
Fruit growers who suffered losses due to frost or freeze in 2012 could be eligible for assistance through USDA’S Farm Service Agency. Read More
BerriesBotrytis Gray Mold Pressure Increasing With Humid Weath…
September 15, 2014
Michigan State University researcher offers tips to reduce the spread of spores. Read More
Fruits5 Mistakes You May Be Making With Your Orchard’s …
September 15, 2014
These deadly sins may be hurting your customers’ experience — and costing you money. Read More
FruitsSuccess And The Not-Top-100 Grower [Opinion]
September 15, 2014
Innovation isn't only happening at the top. Some of the most interesting ideas in the fruit industry are being executed by small growers. Read More
Apples & PearsAmerican and Western Fruit Grower’s 2014 Top Appl…
September 13, 2014
The nations’s largest growers reflect how technology, innovations, and promotion help make their businesses run more efficiently. Read More
NutsAmerican and Western Fruit Grower’s 2014 Top Nut …
September 13, 2014
Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts grown in California make up the crops featured in this portion of the Top 100 Report. Read More
FruitsAmerican and Western Fruit Grower’s 2014 Top 100 …
September 13, 2014
The nations’s largest growers reflect how technology, innovations, and promotion help make their businesses run more efficiently. Read More
Stone FruitAmerican and Western Fruit Grower’s 2014 Top Ston…
September 13, 2014
This year’s Top 100 Report features the 25 largest stone fruit growers in the country. Read More
GrapesAmerican and Western Fruit Grower’s 2014 Top Grap…
September 13, 2014
The nations’s largest growers reflect how technology, innovations, and promotion help make their businesses run more efficiently. Read More
GrapesVintage Nurseries Welcomes New General Manager
September 12, 2014
New quality control manager also joins Wasco, CA, grapevine nursery. Read More
GrapesBrothers Continue To Grow Grapes And Produce Wine ̵…
September 12, 2014
The war has come close to their vineyard 90 miles southwest of Aleppo, with fighting only 100 yards away. Read More
GrapesMealybug Infestation Hits Michigan Vineyards
September 12, 2014
Southwestern vineyards in the state reports of grape leafroll virus which can be transmitted by mealybug. Read More
GrapesCalifornia Quarantine Partially Lifted For European Gra…
September 12, 2014
State lifts ban in Solano County and parts of Napa and Sonoma County. Read More
Crop ProtectionNimitz Nematicide Receives EPA Approval
September 12, 2014
New product from Adama has a unique mode of action and is approved for use on a variety of vegetables. Read More
Pest ControlKnock Down Nematodes In Florida Citrus
September 12, 2014
This video provides information on identifying the major nematodes threats to Florida citrus and provides management tips. Read More