Quality of fruits and vegetables.
This paper presents an overview of the dramatic changes in the understanding of the quality of fruits and vegetables during the past years. The national and international agricultural reformation, the aggravation of competition and surplus production of many horticultural crops as well as the rising awareness of environmental, nutritional and health concerns of the society have led to an alteration process in the view of quality being indicated by alterations of the purchasing behaviour of consumers increasingly demanding only highest quality standard products.
Several definitions of quality were already developed considering mainly product attributes or product characteristics (market quality, technological quality, biological quality). Recently, various attempts are ongoing to define quality more comprehensively in developing either quality indices, quality models or quality management systems in which the step from a view of product-oriented quality over process-oriented quality to consumer-oriented quality has been conducted. However, new laws and orders (e.g. residue law, HACCP-concept) as well as new trends (e.g. functional food, gene-food) have to be implemented into these new approaches. Thus, quality is not a fixed value, but a time, product, and consumer dependent dimension. With this new and comprehensive understanding of the quality dynamics it will be possible to face increasing and alterations in consumer requirements as well as to improve the competitiveness on the European and international trade markets.
Huyskens-Keil, S.; Schreiner, M. 2003. Quality of fruits and vegetables. Journal of Applied Botany 77 (5/6), 147-151.