Children's and university students' liking of organic apples grown with or without the use of reflective mulch
LE3 .A278 2008
Bachelor of Science
Nutrition & Dietetics
Although consumption of organic foods is a way for parents to reduce children’s pesticide exposure, little is known about children’s acceptance of organic foods. This research examined children’s and adults’ liking of organic ‘Honeycrisp’ and ‘Liberty’ apples grown both with and without the use of reflective mulch. Reflective mulch (RM) was used as a ground cover to reflect light into the apple tree canopy to enhance apple coloration. This mulching approach was applied to the east side of the trees, therefore a further objective of this work was to determine liking of the sensory properties of the apples based on location within trees. One hundred and twenty eight consumers (64 adults aged 18-24 and 64 children aged 8-14, balanced for gender) took part in a sensory panel. Questions related to liking of colour, appearance, taste, texture and overall liking were asked. The data were analyzed to examine the effect of age, gender, RM treatment, and location within the tree on liking of the apples for each of these attributes. In general, young children liked all sensory aspects of the apples (colour, appearance, taste, texture and overall liking) significantly more than the adults. Scores from children fell between “just a little good” and “good” on the 9-point scale for all attributes studied. From a gender perspective, it appears that males liked the taste of the reflective mulch treated apples from the bottom west (BotW) portion of the tree significantly more than from any other location on the tree. Titratable acid (TA) values for apples from this location were higher than TA values for apples from any other location on the tree. This implies that males like a more acidic taste to their apples than females. In terms of location on the tree, individuals responded positively to the colour of apples from the bottom east (BotE) location of trees above where the RM was applied. Colour evaluations indicated that these apples were redder than apples from the BotW location on the tree, indicating that individuals liked a redder apple rather than an apple that exhibited less red colour. As children are the future consumers of organic foods, the positive responses that children gave to these apples indicate that there is a promising future for the organic industry in Canada.
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