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Integrating sensory analysis and hedonic evaluation for apple quality assessment.

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Autori: Edoardo Gatti, Nicola Di Virgilio, Massimiliano Magli and Stefano Predieri. Rivista: Journal of Food Quality; Volume: 34; Pagine: 126-132. Anno pubblicazione: 2011.

Apple cultivars were subjected to a consumer test in order to appreciate individual preferences and set up a protocol for a practical hedonic-sensory evaluation. Cultivars subjected to the test were “Golden Delicious,” “Modì,” “Pink Lady” and “Fuji” of two different origins. Apples had the sensory profile defined by a trained panel and were evaluated by 154 consumers. According to their preferences, consumer population could be divided in six clusters. Consumer preference responses clearly associated
the two “Fuji” and showed “Modì” and “Pink Lady” to have appeal on the same consumers groups. Besides expressing hedonic judgment, consumerswere requested to indicate the positive sensory attributes determining their choice. Consumers appreciated “Golden Delicious” and “Fuji” on the basis of sweetness and aroma, while preferences for“Pink Lady”and“Modì”were expressed by consumers appreciating crispness, juiciness and a certain degree of acidity. The involvement of consumers in defining attributes driving preferences provides details useful forweighing up the consistency between consumers’ response and sensory panel profile.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
This work contributes to the knowledge on consumer preferences and concerning apple sensory quality. In particular, the tested varieties could be divided in three groups on the basis of perceived attributes. Knowledge of consumer preferences related to apple qualities can be a key point in planning production and marketing strategies. A protocol integrating sensory characteristics defined by a trained panel, hedonic consumer judgments and sensory preference drivers is proposed.

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