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
spotted-lantern-flay-free-use-feature
Farm Marketing
September 30, 2016
Insect Issues Making The News In September
A number of stories have hit the news this month, from trying to control spotted lantern fly in Pennsylvania to calling researchers relying on mud daubers to go where they can't in a search for an invasive spider. Read More
Long lunch line at 2015 Florida Ag Expo
Florida Ag Expo
September 30, 2016
The Florida Ag Expo Serves Growers [Opinion]
This annual industry gathering is such an important event, Jack Payne, Senior VP of UF/IFAS, has invited his entire leadership team — including the directors of all 12 UF/IFAS research centers and 14 academic department chairs — to participate. Read More
plate-of-the-union-screen-cap-feature
Farm Marketing
September 29, 2016
Coalition To Presidential Candidates: Reform America’s Food System
The coalition Plate Of The Union would like local farms to play a more central roll in U.S. food policy. Read More
A thorough assessment of nematode populations by conducting soil sampling and laboratory examination is essential before deciding on soil fumigation.  (Photo credit:  Almond Board of California)
Nuts
September 29, 2016
Use Soil Sampling To Inform Your Almond Orchard Fumigation Decisions
Whether planting on new ground or replanting, sizing up the enemy — nematodes — is a must. Read More
The team at Sawmill Creek Vineyards which includes Tina Hazlitt, Jason Hazlitt, Ryan Yaskulski, Courtney Griffin, and Eric Hazlitt take great pride in their vineyard, knowing their customers have come to depend the vineyard’s attention to detail. (Photo credit: Christina Herrick)
Grapes
September 29, 2016
Vinifera Finds A Home In The Finger Lakes
In a region known for spectacular sights, varieties are making their mark, just ask the team at Sawmill Creek Vineyards. Read More
Accuweather Winter 2016-2017 forecast map
Citrus
September 29, 2016
Winter Is Coming, And It Could Get Wicked
Forecast sees heightened freeze threat for Florida citrus; frequent snow to blast Northeast. Read More
Spring Valley Farms in Umatilla, FL, from a drone
Citrus
September 29, 2016
Celebrate National Farmer’s Day Every Day
Florida agriculture has a compelling story to tell every day, but what better time to tell it than National Farmer’s Day? Read More
Photo credit: Christina Herrick
Stone Fruit
September 28, 2016
New Research Gets To The Bottom Of Cherry Cracking
German researchers hope to identify root causes of rain-induced problem. Read More
Part of a sustainable cropping system includes desiging fields to wrap around hilly terrain to limit runoff and soil erosion.  Photo credit: Rosemary Gordon
Farm Management
September 28, 2016
Grants Available For Sustainable Ag In The West
More than $1 million is marked for grants to study, demonstrate, and improve sustainable ag practices. Read More
The Latest
Farm Marketing
September 30, 2016
Insect Issues Making The News In Septemb…
A number of stories have hit the news this month, from trying to control spotted lantern fly in Pennsylvania to calling researchers relying on mud daubers to go where they can't in a search for an invasive spider. Read More
Florida Ag Expo
September 30, 2016
The Florida Ag Expo Serves Growers [Opin…
This annual industry gathering is such an important event, Jack Payne, Senior VP of UF/IFAS, has invited his entire leadership team — including the directors of all 12 UF/IFAS research centers and 14 academic department chairs — to participate. Read More
Farm Marketing
September 29, 2016
Kids Up For Adoption Get A Boost From He…
The Heartland Maze has gone the extra mile and created a maze design that promotes a cause. Together with a Read More
Farm Marketing
September 29, 2016
Coalition To Presidential Candidates: Re…
The coalition Plate Of The Union would like local farms to play a more central roll in U.S. food policy. Read More
Nuts
September 29, 2016
Use Soil Sampling To Inform Your Almond …
Whether planting on new ground or replanting, sizing up the enemy — nematodes — is a must. Read More
Grapes
September 29, 2016
Vinifera Finds A Home In The Finger Lake…
In a region known for spectacular sights, varieties are making their mark, just ask the team at Sawmill Creek Vineyards. Read More
Citrus
September 29, 2016
Winter Is Coming, And It Could Get Wicke…
Forecast sees heightened freeze threat for Florida citrus; frequent snow to blast Northeast. Read More
Citrus
September 29, 2016
Celebrate National Farmer’s Day Ev…
Florida agriculture has a compelling story to tell every day, but what better time to tell it than National Farmer’s Day? Read More
Stone Fruit
September 28, 2016
New Research Gets To The Bottom Of Cherr…
German researchers hope to identify root causes of rain-induced problem. Read More
Farm Management
September 28, 2016
Grants Available For Sustainable Ag In T…
More than $1 million is marked for grants to study, demonstrate, and improve sustainable ag practices. Read More
Equipment
September 28, 2016
Small Tractor Sales On The Rebound
Retail sales of tractors under 40 horsepower gained more than 21% last month, while sales of larger tractors continued their double-digit declines. Read More
Farm Management
September 28, 2016
The Time For Climate Change Denial Is Ov…
Extreme cold, droughts, flooding, record-setting temperatures have all been a part of this year’s growing season. Read More
Fruits
September 27, 2016
Focusing On Phenomics In Specialty Crops
It’s not just the nature of your crops — the genomics — it’s also how they are nurtured. Read More
Grower Achievement Award
September 27, 2016
Tasteful Selections Is The Recipient Of …
The award was presented to Bob Bender of Tasteful Selections Sept. 13 at United Fresh's Washington Conference. Read More
Fruits
September 27, 2016
Rodale Institute Launches An Organic Far…
A new national organization for organic growers is designed to provide advocacy, the latest research and education, and information-sharing among farmers. Read More
Farm Management
September 27, 2016
Politicians May Be Taking Ag For Granted…
Growers have become masters at ensuring a steady food supply, but warning, politicians: Ignore them at your peril. Read More
Citrus
September 26, 2016
Presidential Candidates Comment On Agric…
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump weigh in on a number of topics of concern to growers. Read More
Apples & Pears
September 26, 2016
New Apple Variety Is One Stemilt Hopes C…
University of Minnesota apple variety will be grown and packed exclusively by Stemilt. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]