Fruit consumption increases when consumers have information on its sweetness and acidity

A collaborative study has shown that if consumers know if fruits are acidic or sweet, fruit consumption in supermarkets may raise up to 30%. The study has also concluded that about 75% of the population prefers sweet fruit while the rest prefer acidic.


October 20, 2010 11:59 PM

Lleida (ACN).- A collaborative study by Afrucat, The Catalan Institute of Food and Agricultural Research and Technology (IRTA) and Plusfresc supermarkets has revealed that if labels are put onto fruit indicating if they are sweet or acidic, there is an increase in consumption. The study was conducted in three Plusfresc supermarkets in Lleida. It focused on three different kinds of fruit: nectarines, kiwis and apples.

Results have shown that with nectarines, consumption rose by 30% when the products were labelled either sweet or acidic. Consumption apples did not experience as large of a growth, because consumers are more familiar with these fruits. The study also showed that between 70 and 80% of consumers prefer sweet fruit, while the rest prefer acidic.

The project called ‘2 colours-2 tastes’ consisted of placing different coloured labels on fruit (green-acidic, red-sweet) to give the consumer more information when choosing what to buy.

With nectarines, a fruit that has a variety of different tastes, the largest increases were seen. There was a 30% increase in nectarine sales at the supermarkets that participated in the study. As far as the difference between sweet and acidic, the consumer opts for fruit based on their own taste preferences. “If they buy a fruit and do not like it they are not going to buy it again”. “Those who like sweet fruit do not like acidic fruit and vice versa”, said Simó Alegre, director of the IRTA. By labelling the fruit, this is avoided.

“There was also a significant rise in kiwi sales as many consumers do not know that there are sweet and acidic kiwis”, said Manel Simon, general director of Afrucat. There was almost no change in the consumption of apples, however. This could be because many consumers already know which types of apples are sweet and which are acidic, which is not the case for nectarines and kiwis.

The final objective of the initiative is to promote the consumption of fruit to the recommended amount of 5 pieces per day by the World Health Organisation. In Spain, the average consumption is around 3 a day. In Catalonia, the number is a bit higher but still does not meet the recommended levels from international organisations.

Manel Simón said that they hope these studies will influence the future of agriculture, adapting it to fit consumer taste preferences. Lleida is a leading fruit-producing region in Europe.