Consumer perceptions of quality and price of high-value specialty crops in supermarkets in the United States: lessons for producers, handlers and educators
Consumption of fruits and vegetables has been associated with better health and a decreased risk for certain chronic diseases. Consumers understand that fruits and vegetables are essential for a healthy and balanced diet, yet their consumption remains below dietary recommendations in the USA. Determining the preferred attributes of produce can provide valuable information to the produce industry as to how to improve quality to meet consumer expectations. A national online survey was created to explore consumers attitudes, behaviors, and quality perceptions of tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, melons, peaches, and pears. This national survey (n=1220) revealed that while most people are satisfied with the produce they buy, they also feel that getting good produce occurs just by chance. Taste was the most important factor influencing consumer purchase, and most respondents preferred fruits that were sweet and juicy. Fruits that were flavorless, not sweet, not ripe enough, and bruised were causes of dissatisfaction and resulted in smaller or less frequent purchases. Consumers reported purchasing more fruit when pleased with fruit quality. Some consumers claimed they would pay a maximum of $ 0.25 more per pound ($ 0.55 kg-1) for better-tasting fruit, while others reported they did not want to pay any more. Providing satisfactory produce may help increase consumption and help consumers meet dietary recommendations. The results from this study can be used by the produce industry to focus on improving taste by optimizing quality, which may help increase consumption and decrease waste.
Daniels, M., Simonne, A.H., Jensen, S., Diehl, D., Shelnutt, K.P., Bruhn, C., Brecht, J.K., Wysocki, A.F., Cook, R. and Mitcham, E. (2018). Consumer perceptions of quality and price of high-value specialty crops in supermarkets in the United States: lessons for producers, handlers and educators. Acta Hortic. 1213, 21-30
fruits and vegetables, quality attributes, produce quality, fruits, online survey