Consumer Taste Preference and Attitudes Towards Irish Grown Organic and Conventional Tomatoes

Clare Gilsenan, Dublin Institute of Technology
Roisin Burke, Dublin Institute of Technology
Catherine Barry-Ryan, Dublin Institute of Technology

Document Type Working Paper

Proceedings of the 37th Annual Research Conference on Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences. UCC, Cork (4th September) 2007.


Consumers often believe that organically farmed fruit and vegetables taste different and are preferred to conventional produce. The purpose of this study was to determine if sensory panellists could distinguish, by tasting, between organic and conventional Irish grown tomatoes (cv Amoroso) and to identify if panellists have a preference for organically farmed or conventionally produced tomatoes. Forced-choice triangle tests and paired preference tests were completed by 72 consumer panellists, who had responded positively to liking and frequently consuming tomatoes. On completion of the two sensory tests, panellists were presented with a questionnaire assessing attitudes towards the consumption of organic produce. The results of the triangle test showed that a total of 38 panellists correctly identified the different sample. The results indicated that 38 correct responses was sufficient to conclude that the two tomatoes were perceptibly different. The paired preference test results showed a preference for the conventional tomatoes. The results of the questionnaire indicated that the majority of panellists tended to hold a positive view of organic produce. The price of organic produce was considered to be the main deterrent to the purchasing of organic produce. The results of the paired preference test showed that the majority of organic buyers (81%) preferred the conventional tomato.The taste of conventional tomatoes was considered preferable to the taste of organic tomatoes due to sweetness.