New mango varieties bred in Australia are showing promise with consumers, according to a research study.
A pilot study commissioned by the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development involved more than 100 consumers putting their taste buds to the test to rate appearance, taste and value.
The department is a partner in the National Mango Breeding Program that bred the new varieties, with limited fruit available this coming season and volumes increasing within the next few years.
Research participants were asked to provide feedback on three new varieties and rate them against other popular varieties already on the market.
Department tropical fruit research scientist Tara Slaven said the consumer study had shown promising initial results.
“The study showed there are benefits of the new varieties, for both consumers and growers,” Ms Slaven said.
“Consumers appreciated the appearance and the flavour. They were also willing to pay more than a current variety on the market, in particular for one of the varieties known as NMBP-1243 and especially after tasting.”
Ms Slaven said the new varieties would help fill gaps in harvest windows to extend the mango season which currently runs from September through to April – also good news for mango lovers.
The information gathered in the study will be used to provide growers with an understanding of consumer preferences for different mango characteristics. It will also help aid the development of trade in key markets and a marketing strategy for the release of the varieties.
This study was led by Dr Robin Roberts from the Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University and Dr Alec Zuo from University of Adelaide.
Dr Roberts said consumer attitudes and preferences for taste characteristics, appearance and value of the new varieties were collected via a novel research approach – an experimental auction.
“The auction experiment sought to remove the bias that can often occur in consumer research and involved participants bidding for the new varieties,” Dr Roberts said.
“This allowed us to observe consumers’ willingness to pay for a mango based on the two decisive moments - buying and consumption - the visual impression and the taste assessment.
“Participants touched, smelt, felt and observed the mango, just as they would in a store, and completed their responses. Responses were completed again after they tasted the mango.”
The Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA), through Newmanco, is responsible for the evaluation and commercialisation of these varieties.
“The organisation is excited by the positive consumer feedback and is enthusiastic about the potential to help Australian mango growers profitably expand the industry,” AMIA chief executive officer Robert Gray said.
Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937