1 Department of Marketing and Statistics, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 MAPP - Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre - Aarhus BSS Communication, Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University4 unknown5 Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre - Aarhus BSS Communication, Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
A strawberry isn't just a strawberry. Some are sweeter than others, more fragrant and juicier. It is therefore a difficult task to develop a strawberry that tastes like in childhood memories of endless sunny days, and which also is suitablefor the distribution system of today. But new varieties are on their way. And this time consumers have participated in the development process. The new strawberry varieties are the result of extensive product development in the research project 'Better Danish strawberries' in which the Danish Institute of Agricultural Science, Danish Fruit Growers' Association, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and MAPP participated. Danish strawberry growers initiated the project and the purpose is to assure the quality of strawberries and to improve the distribution and sale. In order to get consumers to evaluate both new and existing varieties the MAPP Centre carried out two product tests during the summer of 2000 with all in all 118 consumers. The tests took place at GASA Odense where consumers evaluated 11 varieties. Nine of these were test varieties while the last two, Elsanta and Korona, are among the most sold ones. Results of the product tests showed that consumers like some of the new strawberries, but that they, on the other hand, don't reject the most sold varieties. The product tests workedin such a way that consumers were asked first to evaluate the appearance and smell of selected strawberries and then asked to taste a series of varieties. However, they didn't know which varieties they were evaluating. After having evaluated the appearance and smell, it became clear that consumers liked three of the new varieties, Kimberly, Florence and Marascor, the best, while Korona didn't quite live up to the consumers' expectations. Then the consumers tasted the strawberries. Here it was obvious that they were most enthusiastic about Florence which they found distinctively fresher, sweeter and juicier. Then followed Elsanta, Korona, Mira and Kimberly. There is hardly any relation between the visual and smelling experience and the following tasting experience and consumers first visual and smelling impressions can therefore hardly be used to predict the actual tasting experience. Many consumers don't know or remember the type of strawberries they purchase. This means that basically consumers don't repurchase the strawberries they like and it is therefore very important to disseminate more information about strawberry varieties to consumers. The strawberry growers also like Florence. Therefore it has been included on the growers' variety list for 2001 and recommended as a test variety. Besides the fact that consumers like Florence, it is also high yielding and matures quite late, which opens up for an extension of the Danish strawberry season.