Submitted to: International Journal of Fruit Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2020
Publication Date: 5/22/2020
Citation: Lewers, K.S., Newell, M., Luo, Y., Park, E. 2020. Consumer preference and physiochemical analyses of fresh strawberries from ten cultivars grown in Maryland. International Journal of Fruit Science. https://doi.org/10.1080/15538362.2020.1768617.
Interpretive Summary: Consumers often complain about store-bought strawberry flavor and seem unaware that there are differences in flavor based on cultivar. Ten strawberry cultivars from three different strawberry breeding projects were grown in Maryland and evaluated for fruit quality. The strawberries from the different cultivars were compared for appearance, flavor, and texture by a panel of trained individuals. The strawberries also were analyzed with instruments that measure several components of fruit quality, such as color, glossiness, texture, sugar content, and acid type and content. Both the trained panel and the instruments detected noticeable differences between the ten cultivars. The panel rated the new USDA-ARS cultivar, Flavorfest, superior to all other cultivars, including 'Earliglow'., long a reference for excellent flavor. Overall quality was correlated with sweetness and strawberry flavor and aroma, while sourness was not a factor. Use of an instrument that measures sweetness was better than the trained sensory panel at determining differences in cultivar sweetness. Overall appearance was correlated with visual freshness and glossiness. Light orange-red strawberries appeared fresher and more appealing to the panelists than darker more purple-red strawberries. Evaluations of strawberry fruits for berry size, juiciness, and texture were less straightforward. This research will be valuable for strawberry growers and consumers in selecting cultivars with superior quality.
Technical Abstract: The objectives of this study were to (1) determine consumer preference for fruit of once-fruiting and repeat-fruiting strawberry cultivars available to grow in the Mid-Atlantic to help growers select the most suitable strawberry cultivars based on their marketability, critical sensory quality attributes, and physicochemical measurements; and (2) identify interrelationships between sensory attributes and physicochemical measurements to determine which approaches might result in breeding strawberries consumers will find most appealing. Ten cultivars were grown in Maryland. The fruit were harvested and evaluated by a trained sensory panel and instrumentally. ‘Flavorfest’ fruits were rated highest of all ten cultivars, and ‘Albion’ fruits were rated highest of the repeat-fruiting cultivars. Overall quality was correlated with sweetness and strawberry flavor and aroma, while sourness was not a factor. Separation of cultivar means for sweetness was better using an instrument to measure, rather than the panel evaluation. Overall appearance was correlated with visual freshness and glossiness. Light orange-red strawberries (higher L* and b*) appeared fresher and more appealing to the panels than darker more purple-red strawberries. Evaluations of strawberry fruits for berry size, juiciness, and texture were less straightforward.