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Amy Jo Chamberlain, Kathleen M. Kelley and Jeffrey Hyde

Two separate surveys were administered (17–19 Nov. 2008 and 7–10 Apr. 2009) to consumers residing in five metropolitan areas in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States (1710 for Survey 1 and 1518 for Survey 2) to investigate and compare consumer stated preferences toward locally grown and certified organic produce. In Survey 1, participants were asked to indicate whether they agreed that purchasing locally grown produce was more important than purchasing organically grown produce. In addition, they were asked to report whether locally grown and certified organic were factors in their produce purchasing decision. Compared with their counterparts (each demographic examined independently), White/Anglos, Asian Americans, and those aged 25 years and older agreed that purchasing locally grown produce was more important than purchasing organically grown produce. A greater percentage of participants aged 37 years and older (average of 65%) and 66% of White/Anglo participants selected “produce was grown in my local area.” In addition, a greater percentage of participants aged between 21 and 64 years (average of 32%) and 48% of Asian Americans selected “produce was grown using ‘certified’ organic methods,” compared with their counterparts. In Survey 2, participants were presented with six pairwise comparisons and asked to indicate their stated preference between each of the two options, which included combinations of “locally grown,” “not locally grown,” “certified organic,” and “not certified organic.” Stated preference for locally grown produce was highest among the following participant groups (each group examined independently): those aged 37 years and older, White/Anglo participants, those without children living in their household, females, and participants with income levels $25,000 and greater. In addition, stated preference for certified organic was highest among the following groups (again, each group examined independently): those aged between 21 and 36 years; Black/African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans; those with children living in their household; females; and participants with income levels of $25,000 and greater. Produce industry members in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region (e.g., farmers, distributors, retail store owners, restauranteurs, agricultural extension personnel) can incorporate this research into marketing plans, purchasing decisions, or educational or applied research programs as appropriate.

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Kathleen Kelley, Jeffrey Hyde, James Travis and Robert Crassweller

One hundred forty-nine consumers participated in a sensory evaluation, conducted on 14 Nov. 2008, at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, to determine consumer acceptance and perceptions of scab-resistant apples (Malus ×domestica). Consumers were exclusively screened for liking and eating apples. The study provides tree fruit growers and marketers in the mid-Atlantic United States with information on consumer preferences for apples that might substitute for common cultivars that require frequent apple scab pesticide applications. Resistant cultivars are also attractive in organic production systems. During the 10-minute sensory evaluation, panelists rated five scab-resistant apples [‘Crimson Crisp’, ‘GoldRush’, NY 75907–49 (NY 49), ‘Crimson Topaz’, and ‘Sundance’] and a commercially available non-resistant cultivar, Jonagold, on appearance, aroma, texture, flavor, and overall liking using a nine-point hedonic scale (9 = “like extremely” and 1 = “dislike extremely”). Three of the four apples tested with a red peel (‘Crimson Topaz’, NY 49, and ‘Crimson Crisp’) were rated significantly higher than the other apples on the basis of appearance, receiving mean ratings that were between “like moderately” and “like very much,” a rating of 7 and 8, respectively. In regards to texture, ‘Crimson Topaz’ and ‘Crimson Crisp’ were significantly higher than ‘Jonagold’ and NY 49, with mean ratings between “like slightly” and “like moderately.” For overall liking scores, ‘Crimson Crisp’, which was rated between “like slightly” and “like moderately,” was not significantly different from ‘Crimson Topaz’ and ‘GoldRush’; however, ‘Crimson Crisp’ was rated higher than ‘Jonagold’, NY 49, and ‘Sundance’. Panelists also responded to questions regarding their food-purchasing attitudes and behaviors. Sixty-two percent of panelists purchased fresh apples for themselves and/or other household members at least “two or three times a month” during an average year. Only 2.7% responded that they purchased fresh apples “more than once a week.” This study of consumer preferences provides an initial assessment of the feasibility of marketing new apple cultivars and organic apples within the mid-Atlantic U.S. region. Those that performed well in the sensory evaluation should be candidates for additional market research.