Using an online survey to determine consumer perceptions of fresh-market blackberries

R.T. Threlfall, A.N. Dunteman, J.R. Clark, M.L. Worthington
The year-round availability of fresh-market blackberries (Rubus subgenus Rubus Watson) is increasing in the United States, but there is limited data on consumer perceptions and marketable attributes. An online consumer survey was developed at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Food Science Department, Fayetteville to gain information on consumption and purchasing habits and to identify consumer-driven marketable attributes of fresh-market blackberries. The survey was used to collect data on consumer demographics, purchase and consumption habits, and preferences of images of individual blackberries and blackberries in clamshells. The survey was sent to over 5,500 consumers and was open from February to May 2017. A total of 879 consumers (76.7% female and 23.3% male) completed the survey. Participants (41.6%) responded that they consume fresh blackberries once per month and purchased blackberries at grocery stores (33.6%). The freshness of the berries (98.1%) and the price (87.8%) were the primary reasons consumers purchase fresh blackberries. Almost half of the participants indicated they ate blackberries once per month. When shown images of individual berries for shape and size, the consumers preferred large, oblong berries. When shown images of two clamshell containers of blackberries, one filled with large berries and one with small berries, 68.6% of the consumers preferred the clamshell with the larger berries. When shown images of three clamshell containers of blackberries with increasing levels of red drupelets, 72.9% of the consumers preferred blackberries with no red drupelets. Participants of this survey tended to consume blackberries once per month, prefer large, oblong blackberries, prefer blackberries with less red drupelets, purchase blackberries based on freshness and price, and purchase blackberries at retail markets. The online survey provided unique data to identify marketability attributes of fresh-market blackberries from consumer perceptions and purchasing habits of fresh-market blackberries.
Threlfall, R.T., Dunteman, A.N., Clark, J.R. and Worthington, M.L. (2020). Using an online survey to determine consumer perceptions of fresh-market blackberries. Acta Hortic. 1277, 469-476
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1277.67
Rubus, sensory, red drupelet reversion, size, shape, appearance

Acta Horticulturae