Specifications for Australia’s ideal oranges and mandarins will be unveiled at Citrus Australia’s inaugural National Issues Forum in in Melbourne later this month.

The results are in from both orange and mandarin taste panels, co-ordinated by the nation’s peak citrus body in conjunction with Fruit West and Curtin University, and will be presented on day two of the forum on Tuesday, 29 October.

Some 702 consumers gave their verdicts on 2,106 citrus samples during the 10 panels held across Perth and Melbourne, with consumer responses compared to various levels of sugar and acid in the fruit.

Citrus Australia Market Information and Quality Manager Nathan Hancock says the results will provide the clearest picture yet of just what Australian consumers are looking for in citrus.

He says minimum quality standards were introduced on a voluntary basis two years ago to support greater consistency in flavour and juiciness and encourage repeat purchasing of fruit.

Nathan visited California last year, where a modified version of BrimA was shown to be a better standard than the Brix acid ratio for American taste buds. Now Australia’s own standards will be tailored to fit our nation’s preferences, and BrimA is likely to play a part: “We found the BrimA formula worked very well as a method of measuring Australian consumer preference for oranges and mandarins and that when we presented consumers with a product they liked they said they would buy it again and buy more of it. This means an increase in domestic sales is within the industry’s grasp”

Curtin University’s Adjunct Professor Christine Storer will present the findings, while Nathan will also be on hand to discuss how using the proposed method for determining fruit maturity can assist Australian citrus growers in delivering what consumers want.

“We’ll show what the on-farm effect will be in terms of harvest timing and what the changes to the standards will mean in a practical sense,” says Nathan.

To register or simply find out more go to: www.citrusaustralia.com.au/events/event-calendar.htm