Consumers’ changing perceptions of quality: revisiting the science of fruit and vegetable cultivation for improved health benefits
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Addressing human nutritional needs in the face of rising global population and dwindling natural resources poses a daunting task for sustaining nutritional security. Although the quest to maintain human nutrition and health has long been at the forefront of plant science research, we must still address significant challenges and opportunities. Historically, research primarily aimed to increase production, with little consideration of health benefits. However, shifting consumer preferences and global health imperatives to reduce chronic diseases require us to address the health benefits of fruit and vegetable crops. Current market trends have shifted based on consumers' perception of health-promoting qualities of fruits, vegetables, and nuts; consumers base these perceptions on the phytonutrients present in these foods. Currently, producers enrich, extract and formulate phytonutrients in a wide range of food products marketed around the world. Emerging knowledge on the effect of phytonutrients in the prevention of chronic disease requires that we re-visit the crop management strategies that affect phytonutrient quality. Cultivation practices such as fertilization, season, soil fertility and irrigation have a profound effect on phytonutrient levels and profiles. Similarly, post-harvest factors such as packaging and processing can affect phytonutrients and also impact the consumer's willingness to pay. We must critically evaluate the importance consumers place on these quality attributes in order to derive constructive policies for addressing future human nutritional sustainability.
author list (cited authors)
Patil, B. S., Uckoo, R. M., Jayaprakasha, G. K., & Palma, M. A
complete list of authors
Patil, BS||Uckoo, RM||Jayaprakasha, GK||Palma, MA