Quality attributes of fruits and vegetables such as appearance, colour, aroma, taste drive the decision of consumers to buy a product.
In the past high quality standards were mainly imposed by retailers (e.g., long shelf-life, colour, texture, shape) and less on the consumers’ side. Currently, consumers are demanding fresh fruits and vegetables not only appealing (bright colour and perfect shape) and convenient (‘ready to eat’, ‘eat me’ concepts), but tasty and with significant nutritional value (with high vitamin and antioxidant contents). To meet these consumers’ needs changes in the current organization of the fresh supply chain are necessary.
Keeping the quality of any fresh commodity starts with growing, producing and selecting a good quality product. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research offers quality assessment at different stages of the fresh supply chain: grower, transport and retail. But also at different levels: edible, nutritional, external and internal quality. By assessment of the right quality at harvest or optimal maturity stage (e.g., based on dry matter content, °Brix, colour, shape, etc) for a certain target market, postharvest technologies can be optimized and shelf-life extended by monitoring the quality throughout the whole supply chain either by destructive and or non-destructive techniques.
Keeping quality throughout the supply chain
Our focus in research is understanding the initial quality and the quality development during the complete supply chain by using postharvest physiology and technology knowledge in a smart way, which guarantees satisfaction of all key players of the chain (growers, retailers and consumers).
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research offers dedicated advise and technology on:
- General quality assessment of produce based on destructive and non-destructive techniques (e.g., colorimeter, NIR, firmness);
- External and internal assessment of disorders;
- Flavour and nutritional quality assessment (e.g., aroma profiles based on GC-MS measurements and sensory panels; vitamin C, total antioxidant determinations, etc);
- Initial quality biomarkers (at different cellular levels: genes, proteins and metabolites).
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has a large track record with successful examples with a wide range of fruits, vegetables and ornamentals.