Using a trained panel to understand key sensory attributes of strawberries and drivers of liking in consumers.

Preference mapping

Using a trained panel to understand key sensory attributes of strawberries and drivers of liking in consumers.

 

Overview

The strawberry industry priorities included a focus on increasing consumer demand and preferences for high quality flavoursome fruit. Increasing consumer preference of Australian breed strawberries will increase consumption and profits for growers.

 

Approach

Trained Descriptive Panel

Given the diversity in chemical composition, and subsequently fruit flavour according to cultivar, maturation level and climate, it is important to devise a descriptive language to distinguish between different cultivars at various stages of ripening. A trained panel is a powerful tool in sensory analysis and assists in understanding the differences in sensory profiles of products. Recruitment, Terminology development, Training, Practice and Product Evaluation was carried out using a panel of highly trained panellists of n=14.

Consumer panel

n=150 untrained strawberry consumers were recruited in-field at a community market due to strawberry availability.

Consumers were asked to rate liking.

RESULTS

Three consumer clusters were identified (Figure 4.2). Each cluster had significant differences in hedonic ratings for a number of strawberry varieties and displayed differing preferences.

Using external preference mapping, identification of strawberries that would satisfy the highest percentage of consumers was determined.

Using sensory profiling data from the trained panel, and consumer acceptability ratings from consumers, identification of the sensory attributes driving the acceptance or rejection of varieties was determined.

Maturation level of strawberries explained a large percentage of the variance in the sensory characteristics, suggesting that the point of harvest from the plant is crucial in limiting flavour variation within strawberries of the same cultivar.

 

OUTCOME

Identification of:

  • key strawberry attributes influencing Australian consumer strawberry preferences.
  • a novel breeding line maximising consumer preferences and acceptance of strawberries.
  • characterisation of the flavour of 6 elite breeding lines and matching consumer preference.
  • data obtained was used to assist future breeding programs, by ensuring newly developed cultivars express well-liked flavours, and meet consumer needs.

 

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