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Freshness of fruits and vegetables: consumer language and perception
Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Deutsches Seminar, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
2009 (English)In: British Food Journal, ISSN 0007-070X, E-ISSN 1758-4108, Vol. 111, no 3, 243-256 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The aim of this study is to identify descriptions involved in defining the concept offreshness from a consumer perspective.Design/methodology/approach – A total of 559 subjects recruited in supermarkets of differentcities and villages in Switzerland were asked to write down their understanding of freshness ingeneral, and for fruits and vegetables in particular. Direct elicitation by means of an open-endedquestionnaire was used.Findings – Respondents mentioned a large variety of descriptors in relationship with fresh fruits andvegetables. Results suggest that freshness describes a level of closeness to the original product, interms of distance, time and processing. Respondents having more contact with the place of fruit andvegetable production mentioned non-sensory attributes more frequently, whereas those having fewercontacts mentioned sensory attributes more frequently. It can be concluded that consumers have acollective concept of freshness but they use their different everyday experiences with fruits andvegetables to describe freshness.Research limitations/implications – Analysis of open-ended questionnaires is time-consumingand difficulties were encountered in the categorisation of phrases. Participants might have beeninfluenced by the environment in supermarkets.Practical implications – The perception of freshness is influenced by the information consumers haveon products. Therefore, the importance of providing sufficient information on the products is emphasized.Originality/value – The study is the first to extensively investigate the consumer understanding ofthe term “fresh” in relationship with fruits and vegetables. The use of an open-ended questionnaire isparticularly interesting as it allows greater freedom of expression by the participants compared withother forms of enquiry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2009. Vol. 111, no 3, 243-256 p.
Keyword [en]
freshness, consumer language, consumer perception
National Category
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URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-51238DOI: 10.1108/00070700910941453OAI: diva2:382222
Available from: 2010-12-30 Created: 2009-10-22 Last updated: 2013-10-09Bibliographically approved

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