As well as consumer and grower characteristics, consideration had also to be given to vital genetic aspects. These included factors such as the heritability of selected attributes such as mildew resistance, because at some stage large
Case studies: product development in the food system 323 Table 7.2 BreedBase Report
Family Crop type Fruit shape
A040 Apple Flat
Background colour Yellow
Overcolour % Overcolour Colour pattern Colour intensity Lenticel:
Flesh colour Flesh firmness Flesh crispness Flesh grittiness
Skin thickness Skin greasiness Skin texture Skin flavour
Harvest Date Storage Days Weight Maturity Eating Quality Attractiveness
Overall quality Comments
Thin | Dry Non-chewy | Not significant
12/3/96 107 176g OK
_ Very juicy
_ Very good
Note: The numbers and comments inserted represent assessment of a particular seedling. Source: From HortResearch, Goddard Lane, Havelock North, New Zealand.
numbers of plants will have to be propagated from the successful selection and then established and grown in orchards. Although the key participants were the plant breeders, it was thought to be very important that the scoring be done by a wider-based group. For practical reasons in the initial stages it tended to be a laboratory team but as soon as the earliest stages were completed a wider group was used. The work was monotonous and repetitive so that team numbers are limited but, by their working to a standard scoring system, numbers of selected candidates were reduced to the order of one hundred.
For the Pacific Rose, these selections were then grown in duplicate on two sites and the product apples held 100 days at 0 °C in a cool store and for 7 days at ambient temperatures, to observe storage characteristics. Meetings were held, bringing in other fruit scientists and ENZA staff to widen the vision, and including fruitgrowers and supermarket operators to seek feedback, but still on a largely local basis.
Then in the third cycle the best 10 out of 200 were selected for consumer trials and finally characteristic clusters were assembled where 75% or more of the panel opted for a particular attribute, such as acidity combined with sweetness.
Finally, one variety was chosen by senior management for launching. Trials were then run with selected supermarkets, taking about a thousand cases and trying the market (3-5 years). Pomology work was accelerated, assessing the required optimum growing environment and the hazards. Another important consideration at this stage was naming. The final choice, after a good deal of investigating and agonising, was Pacific Rose. This name seemed to have very many positive overtones and manageable problems. (After its endorsement by the market, it became the forerunner of a 'Pacific' platform of similar apples as the general name and style were clearly found to be very attractive and distinctive.)
During the last two years or so of the commercialisation phase, as well as being checked out locally, small parcels of fruit were dispatched on a trial basis to agents overseas. ENZA has main agents in the UK, Belgium for the rest of Europe, the USA, and in Singapore for the Asian market. These were used for distribution, and also for market intelligence and feedback. The message from these people was very positive. In fact from the marketing viewpoint it was somewhat too positive and was too widely disseminated. This generated an enthusiasm among growers in particular, which stimulated plantings. So in time production threatened to flood the local market and in turn to push the overseas market beyond its powers of initial absorption.
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