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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1120: XXIX International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture: Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (IHC2014): International Symposia on Postharvest Knowledge for the Future and Consumer and Sensory Driven Improvements to Fruits and Nuts

Stone fruit value chain: a systems approach for improved consumer satisfaction

Authors:   D. Stefanelli, J. Lopresti, G. Hale, R. Jones, B. Tomkins, M. O¿Connell, S. Flett
Keywords:   fruit quality, fruit maturity, consumer expectation, IAD
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1120.80
The supply chain for the Australian stone fruit industry is characterised by a series of operational problems that affect the entire sector. Too often there is little information exchange when fruit passes between the links in the value chain from grower to consumer. In addition, the high number of cultivars used makes it difficult to develop broadly applicable protocols to manage fruit quality, which contributes to variable eating quality and consumer dissatisfaction. The Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI), with the support of the Australian stone fruit industry, is developing a more integrated approach that allows better flow of information in the value chain. The project will use non-destructive sensor technologies, in particular the Index of Absorbance Difference (IAD). This relatively new technology accurately determines the physiological maturity of fruit enabling the effect of each step in the value chain on fruit maturity to be measured. Fruit assessment will start in the DEPI stone fruit research orchard and continue through the harvest, handling, packaging, storage shipping and retail steps in the chain.

A thorough understanding of consumer preferences for fruit quality is being developed through sensory research and will be communicated back along the chain to help deliver consistently high quality fruit that meet consumer expectations. This study aims to show how an entire value chain systems approach to fruit quality management, using new and emerging sensor technologies such as the IAD, can lead to new and improved outcomes and enhance the profitability and viability of the Australian stone fruit industry.

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