By Renee Threlfall, Research Scientist, Dept of Food Science, University of Arkansas
At the University of Arkansas System (UA System) Division of Agriculture, 80 consumers looked at and tasted fresh-market blackberries to help us determine attributes they liked. The consumers looked at individual blackberries and preferred oblong, large blackberries as opposed to round or small (Figure 1a). Consumers also looked at blackberries in clamshells and preferred to purchase clamshells containing larger blackberries or clamshells without blackberries with red drupelet reversion (Figure 1b). Consumers then tasted six UA system cultivars (Caddo, Natchez, Osage, Ouachita, Ponca, and Prime-Ark®Traveler) and liked Ponca, Osage, Caddo, and Natchez the most. Ponca (10% soluble solids and 0.8% titratable acidity) was highly rated for sweetness, overall flavor, and overall impression. Understanding what consumers like about fresh-market blackberries provides blackberry breeders and blackberry growers with information to advance retail sale.