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Color and Texture Matter Most When it Comes to Tomatoes

A new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), evaluated consumers’ choice in fresh tomato selection and revealed which characteristics make the red fruit most appealing. 

by Institute of Food Technologists
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Handful of different tomatoes from Ho Farms in Kahuku, Hawaii.Scott Bauer, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service via Wikimedia CommonsThe researchers found that the most important fresh tomato attributes were color, amount of juice when sliced and size. Consumers were most drawn to fresh tomatoes shown to be red, firm, medium/small sized, crisp, meaty, and that contain few seeds. 

The study also found that a lack of characteristic taste and flavor – including fruitiness, ripeness, and sweetness – are frequent complaints of consumers. It also showed that consumers tend to base their purchasing decisions on factors such as familiarity with manufacturer, taste, price, and perceived health benefits.   

The results of the study can be used by tomato producers to help select cultivars that match these consumer preferences and by produce marketers for advertising purposes.  

View the Journal of Food Science abstract here