University of California

For Abstracts

Fresh-cut Produce Marketing Trends: Focus on the Expanding USA Market

Roberta Cook (Dept of Ag and Resource Economics, UC Davis)

The demand for fresh-cut (value-added) produce was adversely affected by the “Great Recession” (beginning in 2008) but has since recovered and recent growth rates are among the most robust in the fresh produce department. Sales are propelled by consumer demand for convenience and greater willingness to pay for value-added attributes. Packaged salads, having experienced stagnation for many years after the 1996 E.coli 0157:H7 incident in spinach, are finally rebounding. In 2014, retail sales of packaged salads grew by 8% in dollars and 5% in quantity relative to 2013, according to Nielsen. Value-added fruit retail sales increased 9% in dollars and 4% in quantity. Value-added vegetables grew by 11% in both dollars and quantity sold. According to Nielsen, in 2014, 83% of US households purchased packaged salads, while 55% and 56% purchased value-added fruits and value-added vegetables, respectively. These penetration rates show significant growth relative to the last decade. Growth in value-added fruit and value-added vegetables outpaced salads, the leading fresh-cut subcategory, over the last decade. In 2014, salads no longer represented the majority of retail fresh-cut sales, rather they contributed 49% as compared with 29% and 22% shares for value-added fruit and value-added vegetables, respectively.Growth in private label, which accelerated during the economic downturn, has likely contributed to greater affordability. In 2014, retail private label shares ranged from 30% for salads to 34% for fresh-cut fruit and 40% for fresh-cut vegetables. The fresh-cut industry is completely on-point with consumer trends and has a bright future, in both foodservice and retail channels.

Impact of modified atmospheres on the Vitamin C content of romaine and green leaf lettuces

Gyunghoon Hong (Mann Lab, Dept. Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis CA 95616), Leigh Schmidt (Mann Lab, Dept. Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis CA 95616), Henrik Ermen (Mann Lab, Dept. Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis CA 95616), and Marita Cantwell (Mann Lab, Dept. Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis CA 95616)

Modified atmosphere packaging is a key technology for maintaining lettuce salad quality, mainly by reducing cut edge discoloration. However, the use of MA may have detrimental consequences, and here we studied the impact of low O2 atmospheres (0.2 to 1%) alone or in combination with high CO2 atmospheres (3, 6, 9-10%) on Vitamin C concentrations. Romaine lettuce was trimmed, cut manually into 2 x 2 cm pieces, rinsed in chlorinated water (50 ppm sodium hypochlorite, pH 7, 20 seconds), spun in a manual spinner, and packaged in perforated plastic bags and stored in containers with flows of humidified air or modified atmospheres up to 12 days at 5 degrees C. Green leaf lettuce was prepared as whole washed leaves and stored under the same conditions. Pieces or leaves were evaluated for appearance (overall visual quality, discoloration and decay) and composition (sugars, chlorophyll, carotenoids, and phenolic compounds were determined by colorimetric methods, and Vitamin C by HPLC). Initial total Vitamin C varied from 25 to 50 mg/100g FW. The rate of Vitamin C loss varied, but in all experiments, total ascorbic acid concentrations decreased more rapidly in pieces or leaves stored in CO2-containing atmospheres than air, and before the loss of marketable quality. Low O2 alone helped retain Vitamin C concentrations. Of six enzymes in the Ascorbate-glutathione that were assayed, only ascorbate peroxidase activities were lower in a 10% CO2 atmosphere than in air-stored lettuce; reduced and total glutathione concentrations were also lower in the CO2-stored lettuce.

Influence of an evoked pleasant consumption context on consumer’s hedonic evaluation for minimally processed cactus pear (O. ficus-indica) fruit

Sortino G. (Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo) Ingrassia M. (Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo)Allegra A. (Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo) Chironi S. (Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo) Inglese P. (Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo)

Awareness of the need to consider a consumption context when measuring the consumer's hedonic evaluation of a food product led researchers to investigate differences among responses given by consumers in different contexts. Previous studies measured the effects of evoking a consumption context, by using photographic pictures or a written scenario, on hedonic evaluations of consumers for food products. This study investigated the influence of evoking a consumption context, on hedonic evaluation of minimally processed cactus pear (O. ficus-indica) fruit, using pictures and memories of pleasant personal experiences. An hedonic scale method for measuring food preferences was used. Hedonic evaluation of minimally processed cactus pear fruit with sensory differences by a sample of consumers (n=150) when measured in the evoked context when having pleasant personal experience was compared with the one of another sample (n=150) measured outside context. Furthermore sensory evaluation of 'experts' (n=20) was accomplished. Differences in rating the sensory attributes were found among the three samples. To test hedonic differences between the two samples of consumers data sets were analyzed using ANOVA. Significant difference was observed between groups of consumers. Having obtained the rankings of sensory attributes correlation between consumers' and experts' evaluations was measured using the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient. This study highlights that the influence of a positive evoked context on hedonic evaluation of sensory attributes of minimal processed cactus pear that may influence consumer's purchasing behavior. Future research will explore the effect of evoking a consumption context comparing different fruit and whether this measure reflects product liking in actual consumption context.

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