Growing Futures

Predicting kiwifruit likeability

Predicting kiwifruit likeability

Research into consumer likeability of kiwifruit cultivars helps ensure commercial success

Scientific knowledge of food attributes that influence consumer purchasing behaviour is important for making informed production and marketing decisions, maintaining competiveness, and capitalising on opportunities for commercial growth.

Since 2002, scientists at Plant & Food Research have been conducting and refining consumer research on the attributes of Zespri kiwifruit cultivars that are most likely to predict consumer likeability of the product and their willingness to purchase.

A recurring observation from studies on consumer groups from around the world is the degree to which the concentration of the fruit’s dry matter content at harvest time is a good predictor of a consumer’s response regarding flavour, even after many months of storage and ripening – a factor that proved a more significant predictor of likeability than attributes such as size or firmness.

When accounting for methodological and seasonal variations, the findings suggest that most consumers prefer kiwifruit harvested with high dry matter content, an observation that led to additional research in determining the minimum acceptable dry matter threshold for each Zespri cultivar.

The findings help with strategic decision-making around storage, distribution and marketing, especially when associated with other aspects of the research that weighed a consumer’s taste experience against the price they are prepared to pay for the product.

The research has contributed to significant financial returns for the industry, and the dataset and methodologies established from the studies are set to guide Zespri’s investment in new cultivars and inform crop vine management and dry matter screening.

The research has been funded by Zespri International Ltd.

Created: September 2016

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