The purpose of the study was to identify key sensory attributes that influence consumer liking for frozen and fresh red raspberries using preference mapping. Sensory profiling of different raspberry cultivars and selections from the Washington State Univ. and Oregon State Univ. breeding programs was carried out using a trained panel (frozen, n = 12 and fresh, n = 10). In addition, a subset of frozen and fresh raspberries of each cultivar was assessed by consumers for sensory acceptability (n = 105 and n = 100, respectively). Based on overall hedonic ratings, cluster analysis identified 3 clusters of frozen raspberry consumers from day 1 (41% “nondistinguishers,” 34% “likers,” and 25% “nonlikers”) and day 2 (41% “group 1 likers,” 26% “nonlikers,” and 34% and 33% group 2 likers”). For fresh raspberry consumers, 2 clusters were detected from day 1 (54% “likers” and 46% nondistinguishers”) and day 2 (54% “group 1 likers” and 46% “group 2 likers”). Preference mapping was applied on the descriptive sensory and acceptability of clustered consumer data. Partial least squares regression results showed that liking of frozen raspberries was driven by high raspberry flavor, firmness, and sweetness. Conversely, disliking of frozen raspberries was related to high sour and aftertaste intensity. In the case of fresh raspberries, high color uniformity, raspberry aroma, raspberry flavor, floral aroma, green flavor, bitter, astringency, and aftertaste increased the acceptability, whereas high color intensity and green aroma were associated with negative drivers of liking. The information obtained in this study can be a useful guide for breeders in the selection of characteristics for growing superior quality raspberries.
The study provides insight into the sensory characteristics that influence consumer preference of raspberries. Identification of the sensory properties that increase or decrease liking of consumers may assist in breeding and production of new raspberry varieties. The development of new varieties with desirable sensory characteristics may focus not only to increase consumption of the “likers” but also to encourage the “nondistinguishers” and “nonlikers” group of consumers, thus increasing market success.