Characterization of Chilean consumers' attitudes and preferences toward different cactus pear colors

M. Mora, P. Matamala, C. Sáenz
The objective of this research was to characterize the preferences of Chilean consumers toward different-colored cactus pear ecotypes (Opuntia spp.). A survey with closed questions was designed (including different topics as sensory characteristics) and applied to 80 consumers (males and females between 15 and 74 years old). Six colored cactus pear ecotypes (purple, green, yellow, dark orange, pale orange and red) were tasted. The cactus pear was placed in pieces for tasting at 8-10°C. The six ecotypes were evaluated simultaneously, whole and halved, to appreciate the peel thickness and the external characteristics of the six ecotypes studied. The experiment was conducted in two legs associated with different harvesting times, in early February and March. Each consumer performed the external evaluation first and then tasted each fruit, to avoid biases. The information was analyzed by ANOVA, factorial and cluster analysis. The main results shown that the green and yellow fruits were the most preferred from the point of view of taste, with 34.4 and 41.2% of preferences, respectively, while the purple and orange fruits were the least accepted, with 26.9 and 28.1% disapproval, respectively. The appearance of the fruit from the first harvest obtained the highest acceptance values, where the yellow cactus pear showed 31.2% and the green cactus pear 30.0% of preferences. For the second harvest, the yellow cactus pear remained in the first place, but the red cactus pear rose to second place. Three market segments have been identified, one of them where the people claim to be regular cactus pear consumers (47% of the total) and have a positive attitude toward cactus pear, but especially for yellow and green ecotypes. This is in agreement with their favorable disposition toward the texture and juiciness of the fruit.
Mora, M., Matamala, P. and Sáenz, C. (2019). Characterization of Chilean consumers' attitudes and preferences toward different cactus pear colors. Acta Hortic. 1247, 143-148
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1247.20
Opuntia spp., cactus pear, preferences, market segmentation

Acta Horticulturae