Applying non-destructive sensors to improve fresh fruit consumer satisfaction and increase consumption
Fruits are an important component of our diet and fruit consumption is associated with reduced and/or delayed onset of major diseases including Alzheimer's, cancer, and obesity. Despite the benefits for human health, fruit consumption is not increasing and in some cases is even decreasing. We propose to increase fresh fruit consumption by determining an ideal picking date, use of ripening programs, and developmental stage and then enforcing a minimum quality index (MQI) based on flavor quality attributes to assure an acceptable flavor experience to consumers. Because of recent advances in new, non-destructive sensor technologies, there is high interest in using non-destructive sensors (either in a handheld portable unit and/or inline) to segregate fruit according to potential consumer acceptance. The use of non-destructive sensors to segregate fruit based on parameters such as firmness and pigmentation as an index of maturation and ripening is reviewed here. Using sensory techniques (trained panels and in-store consumer tests), MQIs based on ripe soluble solids concentration (RSSC) for cherries, plums, nectarines, and peaches and based on dry matter (DM) for kiwi fruit and mangos are being proposed. An accurate determination of picking date will reduce losses and assure that a large fraction of the crop is in the acceptable category. In some cases, segregation into groups with specific flavor quality attributes could warrant a premium that would justify the extra cost of using any new non-destructive sensor technology, but their performance should be tested under commercial conditions before marketing. This article seeks to explain postharvest physiology concepts and explore potential applications for non-destructive sensors in postharvest commercial operations.
Crisosto, C.H., Crisosto, G.M. and Bermejo, J.R. (2016). Applying non-destructive sensors to improve fresh fruit consumer satisfaction and increase consumption. Acta Hortic. 1119, 219-226
fruit physiological concepts, consumer quality, in-store consumer tests, ripening, dry matter, flesh color