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  • Author or Editor: Elizabeth H. Moore x
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Non-SO2-fumigated `Thompson Seedless' table grapes (Vitis vinifera L.) were stored at 5 or 20 °C for 6 and 4.5 days, respectively, in air or one of four insecticidal controlled atmospheres (ICA); 0.5% O2 + 35% CO2; 0.5% O2 + 45% CO2; 0.5% O2 + 55% CO2; or 100% CO2. The fruit were evaluated for weight loss, berry firmness, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity, berry shattering, rachis browning, berry browning, and volatiles (acetaldehyde and ethanol). Fruit quality was not affected at 5 °C with the exception of greater rachis browning in fruit treated with 0.5% O2 + 45% CO2. At 20 °C, ICA treatments maintained greener rachis compared to the air control; however, SSC was reduced in the fruit treated with 55% and 100% CO2. At both temperatures, ICA induced the production of high levels of acetaldehyde and ethanol. Ethanol concentrations were two-thirds lower at 5 °C than at 20 °C. Consumer preference was negatively affected by some ICA treatments for grapes kept at 20 °C, but not by any of the treatments at 5 °C. Preliminary data for mortality of omnivorous leafroller pupae (Platynota stultana Walshingham), western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis Pergande) adults and larvae, and pacific spider mite (Tetranychus pacificus McGregor) adults and larvae indicate that many of the ICA treatments would provide significant insect control.

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Four-inch (10.2-cm) potted floweringCampanula carpatica Jacq. 'Blue Clips' (campanula) traditional herbaceous perennials, were sold in floral departments of three retail supermarket chain stores from 5 May through 20 May and 16 June through 1 July 2000. The intent was to determine whether repositioning campanula as a “new” indoor flowering potted plant would add to total floral department sales or detract from sales of more traditional flowering potted plants. Unit sales for all 4- and 4.5-inch (10.2- and 11.3-cm) flowering potted plants stocked in three supermarket floral departments were recorded weekly and compared with unit sales from three stores where campanula were not sold (control). Unit sales for campanula were similar to those of traditional indoor flowering potted plants frequently stocked in floral departments. Statistical analysis showed that mean unit sales of traditional potted flowering plants for stores that did and did not stock campanula were similar. Therefore, adding campanula to the flowering potted plant mix did not detract from or jeopardize sales of similar indoor flowering potted plants.

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The U.S. wholesale market for flowering potted plants, valued at $701 million in 2000, is growing much slower than the $2.1 billion bedding plant market, indicating the product life-cycle of the former may have matured. A mature product yields little profit. Customers who purchase flowering potted plants for indoor enjoyment may have expectations about them, including that plant life is finite and there is no opportunity for outdoor use. Because scientists have discovered how to force selected perennials to flower, marketers may reposition them as indoor flowering potted plants, creating a new product and potentially stimulating sales of this lagging floral category. One method for relating customer perceptions of new products to familiar ones is perceptual mapping, which shows how consumers implicitly categorize products. Defining how consumers perceive the relationships between the selected flowering plants enables marketers to select the best opportunities for product positioning, merchandising, and pricing. We surveyed 200 self-selected visitors at a Michigan flower show in Apr. 2000 to determine their uses for, preferences for, and perceptions of three traditional indoor flowering potted plants and six traditional outdoor perennials. Perceptions were recorded on a seven-point scale. Squared Euclidean distances were calculated to derive the map in which two major dimensions emerged: use (indoor/outdoor) and flower color. Campanula carpatica Jacq. `Blue Clips' and Oxalis crassipes Urb. were mapped centrally, indicating participants had no strong perceptions for how these plants should be used. This suggests that Campanula and Oxalis have the greatest potential to be positioned for dual indoor and outdoor enjoyment, which may also yield some enhanced profitability.

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