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Abstract

The goals of this study were to identify the retail-purchasing factors deemed most and least important by grower/packer/shippers (GPS) and retailers when purchasing fruits (melons, pears, peaches/nectarines, tomatoes, strawberries, and blueberries), and to identify factors rated significantly different by these two groups. A major survey revealed that both groups agreed that fruits being free of defects and of appropriate firmness were among the most important factors for retailers, and also that aroma was among the least important factors. Points of departure between GPS and retailer self-assessments occurred with GPS rating price and size of fruit as more important than retailers, and GPS rating essential quality characteristics as less important than retailers. Given the link between high-quality, flavorful fruits and increased consumer consumption of fruit, industry professionals will benefit from increased research as well as expanded dialogue to bridge the gap between perception and reality.

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