Improving the Flavour of UK Raspberries

20 August 2018

Delytics Ltd is helping the globally recognised James Hutton Institute research organisation understand how to develop resilient flavour characteristics in raspberries that UK consumers will enjoy eating.

Delytics Ltd specialises in increasing the consumer acceptance and repeat purchase frequency of fruit by improving the eating quality to meet the desired taste experience of specific target markets.

The project aims to improve raspberry flavour by developing new breeding models and decision support tools. Supported through funding from Innovate UK, The James Hutton Institute contracted Delytics Ltd in the Industry and Innovation UK feasibility study: `Feasibility of developing a Novel Breeding Methodology to Improve Berry Flavour’. The project aims to improve raspberry flavour by developing new breeding models and decision support tools.
James Hutton Institute project leader, Dr Julie Graham says Delytics’ recognised expertise in fruit taste prediction, consumer liking and data analytics is expected to help the research team understand how to select raspberries that will meet the taste expectations of UK consumers.

Dr Graham says, “We’ve tried for a long time to try and understand the basis of flavour and what we found was it was very environmentally determined. We also found when we were doing the sensory panels that the data was complex and often conflicting regarding how different assessors ranked flavour. We believe having Delytics involved in the project will help us progress our understanding of consumer liking and the sensory data.”

One of the key focuses of the feasibility study is to understand how to effectively breed soft fruit in the UK for consistently great flavour. Flavour is a complex trait that is significantly affected by environmental conditions which in the light of more frequent extreme weather events and climate change is less predictable. Consistent berry flavour has been a key consumer attribute that has challenged UK breeders and growers, resulting in low consumer acceptance. Understanding what drives flavour perception and how this is influenced by season and environment will allow a breeding model and robust markers to be developed.

Dr Graham says the ability to release appropriate varieties that taste good and are resilient to environmental stress in a timely manner is considered a key to industry success.

“Being able to combine Delytics’ understanding of consumer liking with our understanding of genetics will allow us to tailor our breeding programme to produce raspberries consistently with the taste profile that consumers want.”