Consumer Preferences for Fresh Tomato at the European Scale: A Common Segmentation on Taste and Firmness

M. Causse, C. Friguet, C. Coiret, M. Lepicier, B. Navez, M.K. van der Lee, N.T.E. Holthuysen, F. Sinesio, E. Moneta, S. Grandillo

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    108 Citations (Scopus)


    Although tomato flavor has not been a major goal for breeders, nowadays it becomes important as it is a subject of consumer complaint. A better knowledge of tomato consumer preferences, at the European level, should provide the basis for improvement of fruit quality and for market segmentation. In the framework of a large European project, 806 consumers from 3 countries, The Netherlands, France, and Italy, were presented with a set of 16 varieties representing the diversity of fresh tomato offer in order to evaluate their preferences. In parallel, sensory profiles were constructed by expert panels in each country. Preference maps were then constructed in each country revealing the structure of consumer preferences and allowing identification of the most important characteristics. Then a global analysis revealed that preferences were quite homogeneous across countries. This study identified the overall flavor and firmness as the most important traits for improving tomato fruit quality. It showed that consumer preferences from different European countries, with different cultures and food practices, are segmented following similar patterns when projected onto a common referential plan. Moreover, the results clearly showed that diversification of taste and texture is required to satisfy all consumers' expectations as some consumers preferred firm tomatoes, while others preferred melting ones and were more or less demanding in terms of sweetness and flavor intensity. Detailed comparisons also showed the importance of the fruit appearance in consumer preference.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S531-S541
    JournalJournal of Food Science
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • lycopersicon-esculentum mill
    • sensory quality
    • market tomatoes
    • flavor
    • fruit
    • attributes
    • traits
    • sugar


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