OPPORTUNITIES TO MANIPULATE HARVEST MATURITY OF NEW ZEALAND FEIJOA (ACCA SELLOWIANA) TO ENABLE SEA FREIGHT EXPORT
The global fresh market is under continuous development, innovating novel products that offer a competitive advantage through new eating experiences. In New Zealand, feijoa growers are challenged by a limited local market coupled with increased fruit production volume as a result of new grower investments. The present established harvest maturity standard requires use of a touch picking method that caters to the need of ready-to-eat consumers. These fruit are ripe for consumption but have limited storage potential (4 weeks at 4°C and 90% RH) to enable export to distant markets. To enable reliable sea freight from New Zealand to Asian, European and North American markets a storage life of 6 weeks is required. This work investigated the effect of manipulating harvest maturity on subsequent fruit storability and quality attributes. Unique feijoa were harvested at 4, 2 and 0 weeks before standard touch picking maturity and quality (compression firmness, total soluble solids, titratable acidity and internal maturity rating) monitored fortnightly during storage at optimal conditions and after subsequent shelf life periods. Results indicate that fruit harvested 2 weeks earlier than touch picking maturity demonstrated postharvest ripening behaviour. The early harvested fruit were visibly salable even after 6 weeks of storage, while touch picked fruit developed severe browning as expected. However, quality indices (total soluble solids and titratable acidity) indicate that the taste profile of the early harvested fruit is likely to be different to that of touch picked fruit. Feijoas are however relatively unknown to most consumers globally, and hence consumers in new markets may accept this fruit as they have not developed taste expectations unlike the New Zealand consumer. Manipulating harvest maturity of the fruit may provide a solution for growers to solicit new export markets, increase their returns, and increase the size of the industry as a whole. Yet, there is a need to further investigate the consumers acceptance of taste before implementing changes to the maturity indices for export grade fruit.
Rupavatharam, S., East , A.R. and Heyes, J.A. (2015). OPPORTUNITIES TO MANIPULATE HARVEST MATURITY OF NEW ZEALAND FEIJOA (ACCA SELLOWIANA) TO ENABLE SEA FREIGHT EXPORT. Acta Hortic. 1091, 223-229
guavasteen, pineapple guava, Myrtaceae, fruit quality, firmness, storage