Agronomic practices to increase nutrients in crops may also influence the perception of the consumer about the crop. It is possible that there will be changes in: taste (e.g. increasing ascorbic acid content), colour (e.g. increasing B carotene), shelf life and/or general perception of the food. A changed nutrient content because of agronomic practices may be perceived as an artificial measure by consumers. These aspects should be considered when marketing a new crop or product. New approaches to plant breeding can start with the analysis of consumer preferences, and then merge them with modern genomics and analytical chemistry tools (Folta and Klee 2016). In Figure 2.5 the changing priorities of variety selection are shown (Folta and Klee 2016).
Figure 2.5: The changing priorities in variety selection. Traditionally plant genetic improvement was driven by the demands of the end user—the growers. Breeding and selection efforts prioritized production and post-harvest characteristics. Today the process is shifting to a model where the consumer is the end user, and their demands are quite different. Future efforts in breeding and selection will use this ‘Consumer-Assisted’ strategy, allowing consumers to define immediate improvement priorities. (Copied from: Folta and Klee 2016)
Folta KM, Klee HJ. 2016. Sensory sacrifices when we mass-produce mass produce. Horticulture Research 3. DOI: 10.1038/hortres.2016.32.