Consumer acceptability of heirloom tomatoes
Bland, Sarah E
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Consumers have been dissatisfied with tomato flavor for decades. With a grassroots movement to bring back the full flavored tomatoes of the past, heirloom tomatoes have emerged as a specialty niche in the tomato industry. Focus group discussions, organized by approximate age, revealed the young demographic have grown up eating commercial tomatoes and have little reference to garden fresh tomatoes. It was also discovered that the young group desires tomatoes with a sweet taste while the middle aged and elderly demographics want a tomato with an acid and bite taste. Consumer evaluations did not rank heirlooms as having a more superior flavor than commercial tomatoes. However, consumers did rank commercial tomatoes as least preferred than heirloom varieties. Descriptive sensory analysis showed astringency was the only descriptor of significant difference between heirloom and commercial tomatoes.