Consumer Acceptance of 'Brooks' and 'Bing' Cherries is Mainly Dependent on Fruit SSC and Visual Skin Color
During two seasons, ‘in-store’ consumer acceptance tests were performed to determine the relationship between soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA) and visual skin color on ‘Brooks’ and ‘Bing’ cherry consumer acceptance. For this, approximately 600 consumers were presented cherry samples at targeted skin colors with SSC in the range of ca. 13.0-20.0% and TA in the range of ca. 0.50-1.00%. For each cherry sample, one half of the whole cherry was tasted and the other half was used to determine SSC and TA. TA>0.60% reduced consumer acceptance on ‘Brooks’ cherries with <16.0% SSC compared to cherries with ≤0.60% TA, while in ‘Bing’ the same situation only occurred on cherries with ≤13.0% SSC. High consumer acceptance was determined on ‘Brooks’ and ‘Bing’ cherries when SSC were >16.0% without regard to TA. For both cultivars, the highest percentage of American consumers would buy cherries based on dark skin color without regard to ethnic group (Caucasian, Asian American, Hispanic, or Black) or gender. However, consumer age was related to making the ‘buy’ or ‘not to buy’ decision based on cherry skin color. Consumers under 18 years old were less biased to buy cherries based on visual skin color. Thus, this work demonstrated that for ‘Brooks’ and ‘Bing’ cherries, a full bright red or dark mahogany skin color should be reached, respectively, in addition to a minimum SSC of 16.0% to satisfy the majority of American consumers.