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Completed project

Quality improvements in the melon supply chain (VM21001)

Key research provider: Delytics
Publication date: Tuesday, April 30, 2024

What was it all about?

This program developed minimum quality standards for seedless watermelons, rock melons and honeydew melons, with the overall aim of improving their eating quality. Once adopted, the new standards will help the Australian melon industry consistently supply consumers with melons they enjoy eating, which will improve consumer acceptability and demand.


In 2019, the melon industry commissioned research into Australian melon consumers, including their melon consumption habits and attitudes through the project Consumer insights for the Australian melon industry (VM18000).

The research reported that 26 per cent of participants had a negative eating experience with melons. The Nielsen Harvest to Home report for the year ending mid-June 2023 supported the need for change by reporting an eight per cent decrease in dollar sales for melons, and a 22 per cent decline in the number of melons purchased –the highest decline in Australia’s top ten fruit.


This project was initiated to overcome the challenges caused by poor quality fruit, which were hindering sales and growth in both domestic and export markets.

The first step was to gather evidence to enable the industry to identify the fruit maturity available to consumers and decide what level of maturity standards would be needed to meet consumer taste expectations. Two sets of consumer taste panels helped the project team understand what maturity consumers enjoy eating.

Maturity monitoring at both wholesale and retail then allowed the team to benchmark the maturity of melons available to consumers and enabled the project team to analyse how changing seasons and weather patterns affected melon maturity.


The project will contribute to increased repeat purchases and value for Australian melons once the standards are adopted by all supply chain participants. To this end, in 2024 a new levy-funded program was initiated to continue this work by facilitating and monitoring the adoption of these minimum quality standards, the Melon quality improvement program (VM23002).

The combined results of the maturity monitoring and taste panels provided the insights needed to enable the industry to decide what level of standards were needed.

The new maturity standards were set by stakeholders representing all facets of the Australian melon supply chain and endorsed by the Melons Australia Board. The industry agreed on a consumer acceptability target of 80 per cent, and the following interim maturity standards were set to achieve that: 

  • Seedless watermelon - a minimum standard of 80 per cent fruit above 10 Brix, with the potential to consider a future standard of minimum 11° Brix.
  • Rock melon - a minimum standard of 50 per cent fruit above 11° Brix.
  • Honeydew - a minimum standard of 70 per cent fruit above 11° Brix.
Related levy funds

This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Melon Fund