Evaluating consumer responses for Ripe and Ready pears (AP06046)
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What was it all about?
The success of Ripe and Ready Packham pears in Queensland led two major supermarkets chains introducing and promoting pre-ripened Packham pears nationwide. The supermarkets responded to the potential for growing the Packham pear category differently and this led to variation in the specifications for pre-ripened pears. The changes to the category were made with limited consumer insights and therefore the pear industry saw a need for consumer that could evaluate consumer preferences for firmness in pre-ripened pears.
The project aimed to determine whether a market for pre-ripened pears existed. Sensory and consumer research was carried out to investigate whether, (a) could Packham pears of different firmness specifications be perceived as different and (b) if so, what firmness level was most preferred by consumers. In addition, penetrometry measurements were carried out as an instrumental measurement of pear firmness.
Consumer research was conducted with 122 pear consumers from the Sydney metropolitan area. Measures were taken to insure that “Perfectly Ripe” pears fell within ripeness specifications. The results showed that:
- The ripest Packham pears (“Perfectly Ripe”; 2-4 kg) were most preferred.
- Approximately 1/3 of consumers liked the un-ripened Packham pears (6-9 kg).
- Consumers perceived “Perfectly Ripe” (2-4 kg) pears to be ripest, juiciest, sweetest and least firm, whereas the un-ripened Packham pears (6-9 kg) were perceived the least ripe, the least juicy, the least sweet and the firmest.
- Consumers who preferred the ripest pears category bought pears at the same ripeness stage as the overall group, but they expressed a larger interest in pre-ripened pear concepts. There were no differences between consumers of the different categories in terms of demographic profiles.
The findings of the study suggested there may have been a market for pre-ripened Packham pears. Pear quality in this stage of ripeness was hard to control. Therefore to further grow the market of pre-ripened Packham pears, a reliable, homogeneous product quality that met consumer expectations, needed to be developed.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the voluntary financial support of the apple and pear industry.
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