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Sa Fruit Journal 2021 04 Q Canopy To Consumer
April / May 2021

From canopy to consumer – Eating experience starts with position on the tree

SA Fruit Journal: April / May 2021

Consumer preferences matter and growers who want to sell fruit need to know what consumers fancy. They tend to choose fruit based on appearance – at least the first time they try it. A good eating experience is what keeps them coming back for more. The challenge for growers is to provide fruit that combine great looks with great taste. By Anna Mouton

Both the appearance and the quality of fruit are partly determined by their position on the tree. This is especially true of apples and pears from older orchards consisting of big trees with complex canopies. Fruit on the inside of such canopies may receive less than 5% of the light that fruit on the outside receive, and average peel temperatures of outside fruit can be as much as 10°C higher than peel temperatures of inside fruit. Several research projects conducted by the Departments of Horticultural Science and Food Science at Stellenbosch University have investigated the link between canopy position, fruit appearance, fruit quality, eating experience and consumer preference. Their conclusion? What you see is not always what you get.

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