Physical, sensory and consumer analysis of pear genotypes among South African consumers and preference of appearance among European consumers

Manning, Nicola (2009-03)

Thesis (Msc Food Sc (Food Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


The aim of this research project was to determine the preference of pear appearance and taste among South African pear consumers using descriptive sensory analysis, consumer preference and physical maturity measurements. The preference of external pear appearance among European consumers was also established. The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, South Africa, aims to breed new cultivars with a local as well as export market potential. They are focused on a range of blushed cultivars from early to late season which do not loose their skin colour. Important eating quality characteristics they are focused on are high sugar content (sweet taste) and a strong pear flavour. Both research studies performed on local South African consumers showed that these objectives align very well with consumer preference. Lightly coloured blushed pears were preferred and important sensory attributes were pear flavour, sweet taste, melt character, juiciness and a soft texture. Sour taste, astringency, mealiness and grittiness were negative attributes. The appearance preference conducted on European consumers determined that these consumers prefer a bright yellow or green colour with a light red or pink blush. Shape played a role and a typical pear shape was preferred. The outcomes of the research performed on local South African consumers were compared to results found internationally. The findings were consistent with important sensory attributes being pear flavour, sweetness and juiciness and yellow or green colours preferred or a light blush was also acceptable. Age and gender did not seem to play a role in the preference analyses. Therefore, preference studies can be conducted locally on new cultivars for the export market. Blushed cultivars are prone to red colour loss in high temperature conditions. Breeding of selections (e.g. ‘Cheeky’) that accumulate more red pigment and are therefore less prone to colour loss has been done to try to overcome this problem. However, these selections are redder and darker in colour and have a lower preference among consumers. A possible solution to this could be to breed light blushed pears (e.g. Rosemarie) but to market the cultivar, as is the case with Cripp’s Pink apples, with separate trademark names for fruit with adequate and inadequate blush development. Thereby, the producers will still receive compensation for their produce if the colour is lost but if not, a higher premium will be received.

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