Taste and Maturity: Update 5
The IAC Taste and Maturity Review sub-committee has met, following more detailed input from two working groups which were separately established to consider more detailed proposals on firstly the Taste programme for 2021 and secondly the Maturity system for 2021.
Taste Programme Update
Based on the work of the committee and endorsement by the IAC sub-group, the following will be proposed for the 2021 season:
- The current Minimum Taste Standard (MTS) remains the same
- The Taste Zespri Grade (TZG) curve concept remains the same
- The top of the TZG curve will be capped at a point below 1, to be determined in conjunction with the markets to align the maximum taste value a grower can earn with the point consumer liking by dry matter starts to plateau based on Zespri’s consumer sensory work
Further work needs to be done to determine where the TZG curve should be capped, with the added complication of fruit size, before seeking wider industry views on the outcome of such a move. This will be the subject of the next IAC sub-group meeting.
The other area under consideration by the Taste working group is the development of a measure which encourages growers to harvest where they may seek to hold on for taste at the detriment of storage quality.
The committee has made it clear that the key elements of the taste programme will remain, in particular the current minimum standards and an incentive programme which rewards for taste. While the finer details of the programme are being worked on, growers should set their orchards up in the full expectation that the taste programme will have both elements in it going forward. Taste will continue to be a key driver of the in-market value that Zespri can capture and the industry’s taste settings and signals will not be dampened down to the point the market is compromised.
Maturity Sampling and Laboratory Update
Key decisions have been made by the Maturity Sampling and Testing working group as the new maturity clearance system is being designed and built for the 2021 season. Among the key decisions are:
- A revised timetable for sampling, which moves out the point of reporting to 2pm on a day, rather than the previous 6am cut-off, which put samplers and lab services under significant pressure. The new times are:
– Day 0: 5.00pm sample request cut-off
– Day 2: 11.00am cut-off for laboratory reporting to Zespri
– Day 2: 2.00pm cut-off for Zespri reporting to stakeholders (target 1pm if possible)
Individual test results for a sample will not be reported until the entire sample result is reported (Day 2 2.00pm cut-off). This means that there will be no live reporting of individual test results such as brix or colour.
- The 90 plus 60 fruit sample size will be retained to ensure less variability in sampling, which is what would happen should the 60 fruit sample be dropped.
- Allowing only one sample per block per day.
- Zespri will not validate orchard maps. It will be the responsibility of the grower and their representatives to ensure that the orchard map is of sufficient quality to allow a sampler to locate the relevant orchard blocks.
- The maturity clearance tests for each sample will be determined by the variety being sampled and whether the sample is for Kiwistart or Mainpack. There will be no optional tests available for request.
- Zespri will not generate retest results if a sample result appears to be unusual compared to other sample results for a maturity area. Growers and their representatives will be responsible for generating any retesting for a maturity area. There will be the opportunity to challenge sample charges at the completion of each season if a sample’s results are vastly different to other samples for a maturity area.
Smaller changes to the rules around maturity sampling for the 2021 season have been made and will be communicated as finalised.
The next meeting of the Taste and Maturity Review Committee is to be held later this month and outcomes will continue to be communicated to the industry.
Peter McBride on behalf of the committee