Journal of Food Science 81, 2016, 2559-2563
Fruits and vegetables cultivated under controlled deficit irrigation (CDI) are called hydrosustainable (hydroSOS) products and have its own personality and are environmentally-friendly. Focus groups helped in classifying key farming, sensory, and health concepts associated with CDI-grown pistachios. Besides, focus groups also helped in stating that a logo was needed for these special foods, and that a hydroSOS index is also essential to certify that the products have been controlled by a control board. Conjoint analysis was used to check which attributes could be helpful in promoting CDI-grown pistachios among Spanish consumers in a 1st step toward the European Union (EU) market. It was clearly proved that the main silo of properties driving the attention of Spanish consumers was that related to health. The most important attributes for pistachios were “product of Spain,” “rich in antioxidant,” and “crunchy”; this finding was clearly related to the popularity of regional foods, the preoccupation of European consumers for their health, and the joy related to the crunchiness of toasted nuts, respectively. The use of these 3 concepts, together with the use of the hydroSOS logo, will be essential to promote hydroSOS pistachios among Spanish and EU consumers. Finally, it is important to highlight that in general Spanish consumers were willing to pay an extra amount of 1.0 euros per kg of hydroSOS pistachios. These earnings will be essential to convince Spanish farmers to implement CDI strategies and have a sustainable and environmental-friendly use of the irrigation water.
The information generated in this study will be essential for farmers as a starting point for promoting their hydroSOS pistachios, and a similar strategy can be implemented for other hydroSOS vegetables and fruits. Nowadays, it is necessary to address consumers’ demands to ensure new products’ success in the market.