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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wenatchee, Washington » Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #389944

Research Project: Enhancement of Apple, Pear, and Sweet Cherry Quality

Location: Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research

Title: Market potential and value-added opportunities of cold-hardy berries and small fruits in the Intermountain West, USA

item GARG, SUMEDHA - Montana State University
item Leisso, Rachel
item KIM, SUN-HWA - Montana State University
item MAYHEW, EMILY - Michigan State University
item SONG, MEI - Montana State University
item JARRETT, BRIDGID - Montana State University
item KUO, WAN-YUAN - Montana State University

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2022
Publication Date: 12/28/2022
Citation: Garg, S., Leisso, R.S., Kim, S., Mayhew, E., Song, M., Jarrett, B., Kuo, W. 2022. Market potential and value-added opportunities of cold-hardy berries and small fruits in the Intermountain West, USA. Journal of Food Science. 88(2):860-876.

Interpretive Summary: We conducted a consumer study to assess the fresh market potential of three novel cold hardy small fruit species, haskap (Lonicera caerulea), saskatoon (Amelenchier alnifolia) and dwarf sour cherry (Prunus x kerrasis). Haskap berries ("haskaps") rated higher than either saskatoon or dwarf sour cherry in terms of overall liking (OL), willingness-to-pay (WTP), and purchase intent (PI). Saskatoon OL indicated fresh market may be viable, but OL for dwarf sour cherry (DSC) was below what is generally advised for viable product marketability. Interestingly, fresh haskaps stored for two weeks did not differ significantly in terms of OL, WTP, or PI, despite significant reduction in titratable acidity and firmness. Follow-up focus groups indicated interest in value-added products for all species.

Technical Abstract: Novel cold-hardy'small'fruits and berries such as'haskap (Lonicera caerulea), saskatoon (Amelenchier alnifolia) also called juneberry/serviceberry, and dwarf sour cherry (DSC) (Prunus x kerrasis) provide a promising opportunity to growers in the Western United States'where'the climate and soils are not suited for blueberries. This study explored the market potential of haskap, saskatoon, and DSC by conducting consumer sensory tests and focus group (FG) discussions. Participants from the Western Montana Growers Co-Operative (Missoula, MT) were recruited for an at-home sensory evaluation on fresh haskap (c.v. Aurora), saskatoon (Lee 3), DSCs (Romeo), and 2-week stored haskap berries, provided by the Montana State University-Western Agricultural Research Center (Corvallis, MT). Participants scored for overall liking (OL) (9-point hedonic scale), purchase intent (PI), and willingness-to-pay (WTP). They also shared their insight regarding fruits being studied. Haskaps and the 2-week stored haskaps received a significantly higher OL, PI, and WTP for a 6-oz product (7.7±1.0, 3.8±1.0, and $3.7±1.0; 7.7±1.2, 3.8±1.1, and $3.7±1.0, respectively), compared to saskatoons (6.1±1.8, 2.8±1.1, and $3.0±0.9, respectively) and DSC (5.6±2.2, 2.5±1.2, and $3.1±1.0, respectively) (p<0.0001). Effects of cluster separation were observed in the consumer set driven by the liking/dislike towards DSC. Age-related differences were also observed. A parallel instrumental study revealed these differences could be attributed to the significantly higher soluble solid content of DSC among the samples, and the significantly reduced titratable acidity of haskaps after the 2-week storage. This study revealed the untapped fresh-market potential of haskaps and the value-added opportunities (as a result of FG discussions) to extend the sale season and improve the palatability of saskatoons and DSCs.