Research by French stone fruit scientist Christian Hilaire revealed the following trends:
Brix of 10° to 12° provided the highest level of consumer satisfaction. Consumers also preferred varieties with balanced acid-to-sugar ratios compared to high- or low-acid varieties.
Generally, small fruit are less sweet and not greatly appreciated by consumers. In a Rich Lady peach variety trial, the consumer panel tasted three sizes of fruit harvested the same day. The larger fruit had the highest aroma and sugar. "The objective should be to get rid of small fruit size as much as possible because it's the best way to disappoint consumers," Hilaire said.
Consumer satisfaction dropped significantly when panelists were given old fruit. Although the sugar content was similar in Summer Rich peaches sampled by consumer panelists 6 and 13 days after harvest at 11.0 and 10.5° Brix respectively, consumer satisfaction dropped from 75 percent to 45 percent between the two groups of peaches. "It was at the end of the fruit life in terms of texture, aroma, juiciness, and flavor," Hilaire said. "The research emphasizes that there shouldn't be a long time between harvest and selling it."