Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 3106–3118 | Cite as

Quality perception throughout the apple fruit chain

  • Ilija DjekicEmail author
  • Dragan Radivojevic
  • Jasminka Milivojevic
Original Paper


Quality is considered as the main attribute for differentiating food products and/or food services. The objective of this study was to examine how different actors in the apple fruit chain perceive quality. This research included perception of quality evaluated by 38 orchards, cold storages, and retailers and 287 consumers, using two methods. Direction from the orchard to the consumer covered 'customer–supplier' method analyzing their viewpoints in different stages of the fruit chain. Backwards, from the consumers to the orchards, method employed was quality function deployment. Orchard–cold storage comparison highlighted that orchards recognize apple cultivar and yield as the most important quality attributes while cold storages focus on handling of fruit and share of first-class apples. Quality aspects important in the cold storages–retailers evaluation emphasize type of cold storage and presence of fruit defects compared to apple cultivar and ratio between quality and price. Retailer–consumer comparison showed that retailers focus on packaging and ratio between quality and price while consumers beside fruit price focus on assortment and product placement at point of sale. Quality function deployment displayed transformation of quality attributes from juiciness (consumer), advising at point of sale (retailer), apple cultivar (cold storage), to production systems at apple orchards. The results suggest that there are different views on quality by all actors in the apple fruit chain from internal quality parameter such as juiciness to production systems employed at orchards.


Apple fruit Quality characteristics Quality function deployment Customer–supplier relationship Fruit chain 



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Food Technology and Biochemistry, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeRepublic of Serbia
  2. 2.Institute of Horticulture, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeRepublic of Serbia

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