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 Copyright
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Purpose of study
 Method of procedure
 Consumer acceptance of prepackaged...
 Observations
 Summary and conclusions
 Acknowledgement
 Table 1: Test of sales of sweet...
 Career opportunities in agricultural...






Group Title: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station bulletin no. 712
Title: Consumer acceptance of prepackaged sweet corn
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026931/00001
 Material Information
Title: Consumer acceptance of prepackaged sweet corn
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 11 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Brooke, Donald Lloyd, 1915-
Publisher: Agricultural Experiment Stations, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1966
 Subjects
Subject: Sweet corn -- Marketing -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Sweet corn -- Packaging -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: D.L. Brooke.
General Note: Cover title.
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026931
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000929303
oclc - 18363798
notis - AEP0083

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
    Introduction
        Page 3
    Purpose of study
        Page 4
    Method of procedure
        Page 4
    Consumer acceptance of prepackaged vs. green corn
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Observations
        Page 8
    Summary and conclusions
        Page 9
    Acknowledgement
        Page 10
    Table 1: Test of sales of sweet corn per 100 customers, prepackaged and green, four stores, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 13 through May 1, 1965
        Page 11
    Career opportunities in agricultural economics
        Page 12
Full Text


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BULLETIN 712


_'_"0 l


Consumer

Acceptance of

Prepackaged

eet Corn
SN D. L. BROOKE
/ AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS
4)I STITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, GAINESVILLE
J. R. BECKENBACH, DIRECTOR


AUGUST 1966














CONTENTS

Page
Introduction --...___ 3

Purpose of Study ---------------------- --____ ----- 4

Method of Procedure ,.-- ---4-_... ........-----....__- 4

Consumer Acceptance of Prepackaged Vs. Green Corn -- 5

Observations --- -- -- ------- 8

Summary and Conclusions ----------- 9

Acknowledgments ----------- 10

Appendix -------------- 11







CONSUMER ACCEPTANCE OF
PREPACKAGED SWEET CORN
D. L. Brooke1

Introduction
Prepackaged fresh Florida sweet corn was first offered to
consumers as early as the spring of 1948 when husked ears of
5- and 3-inch lengths were placed in food trays and overwrapped
with cellophane.2 "It was then distributed to 28 terminal
markets, and retailed in about 200 cities east of the Mississippi
River at a slightly higher price than comparable quality
bulk corn. Sales of prepackaged sweet corn were found to
average less than sales of bulk corn in retail stores carrying
both items, thus indicating that slightly more than half of the
sweet corn buyers preferred buying the bulk corn."3
While consumers who bought the product indicated general
satisfaction with the prepackaged corn, about 15 percent found
the quality or condition of the prepackaged corn in some way
unsatisfactory, demonstrating the importance of delivering a
product of high quality to the customer.4
In the final analysis this early study concluded that gross
returns to growers were slightly less per equivalent crate for
prepackaged corn than for bulk corn. This fact alone, to say
nothing of quality considerations, was enough to discourage
volume entry into the field of prepackaged fresh sweet corn.
Subsequent attempts by a few growers and at least one retail
food chain organization to prepackage corn on a small scale at
the shipping point were, with one exception, short-lived.
In the spring of 1965 a grower in eastern Palm Beach County
began prepackaging sweet corn on a production line basis, utiliz-
ing the latest innovations in harvesting, packaging with breath-
able films, and mechanically refrigerating in transit. His original
request to the Florida Sweet Corn Advisory Committee for per-
mission to market short ears of corn in the prepackaged form
was turned down. There followed considerable controversy with-
in the industry concerning the standards for quality with regard
to ear length. The minimum length of ear for fresh green corn
had previously been established at 6 inches. The Committee

SAgricultural Economist, Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations.
2A. H. Spurlock and D. R. Stokes, Marketing Florida Prepackaged
Sweet Corn, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and PMA, USDA,
Proc., April 1949, p. 5.
3 Spurlock and Stokes, p. 5.
'Spurlock and Stokes, p. 6.
3







recommended to the Commissioner of Agriculture for Florida,
and he approved, regulations to the effect that the minimum
length of clipped or unclipped ear for husked fresh sweet corn
would be 5 inches. The Committee felt that any ear of less than
5 inches was cull corn and should not be permitted in the chan-
nels of trade.
Since there was so much controversy within the industry with
regard to quality of corn shorter than 5 inches when husked and
prepackaged, it was decided to market a shorter ear (41/2 inches)
experimentally to determine the possibilities of consumer accep-
tance of the product. If it was acceptable, the information would
provide the basis for more rational industry decisions in the
future.

Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study was to determine 'consumer pref-
erence for sweet corn husked and prepackaged at the shipping
point against purchases of bulk green corn of the same grade.

Method of Procedure
All of the prepackaged corn was purchased from a handler
in Florida and delivered to Philadelphia in mechanically refrig-
erated trucks. Some of the green corn was purchased from the
same source. At times it was necessary to purchase green corn
from merchants on the Philadelphia produce market, where sup-
plies were arriving almost daily. Refrigerated storage was pro-
vided on arrival at the terminal market warehouse and in the
test stores prior to display. Temperatures between 33 and 40
degrees F. were maintained, as constantly as possible, in all
transit and store refrigeration.
To measure consumer acceptance of prepackaged and bulk
green sweet corn, a test of three weeks duration was conducted
in retail stores in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The
experimental period was April 13 through May 1, 1965. Pack-
ages of 412- and 6-inch ears of husked corn, prepackaged at
the shipping point, were placed side by side in a retail display
together with loose ears of green, unhusked sweet corn. All
prepackaged corn met U. S. Consumer Grade A,- and green corn
met U. S. Fancy6 grade standards at time of shipment from
Florida.

SUSDA, United States Consumer Standards for Husked Corn on the
Cob, Washington, D. C., May 8, 1956.
6USDA, United States Standards for Green Corn (19 F.R. 2221),
Washington, D. C., May 18, 1954.
4







recommended to the Commissioner of Agriculture for Florida,
and he approved, regulations to the effect that the minimum
length of clipped or unclipped ear for husked fresh sweet corn
would be 5 inches. The Committee felt that any ear of less than
5 inches was cull corn and should not be permitted in the chan-
nels of trade.
Since there was so much controversy within the industry with
regard to quality of corn shorter than 5 inches when husked and
prepackaged, it was decided to market a shorter ear (41/2 inches)
experimentally to determine the possibilities of consumer accep-
tance of the product. If it was acceptable, the information would
provide the basis for more rational industry decisions in the
future.

Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study was to determine 'consumer pref-
erence for sweet corn husked and prepackaged at the shipping
point against purchases of bulk green corn of the same grade.

Method of Procedure
All of the prepackaged corn was purchased from a handler
in Florida and delivered to Philadelphia in mechanically refrig-
erated trucks. Some of the green corn was purchased from the
same source. At times it was necessary to purchase green corn
from merchants on the Philadelphia produce market, where sup-
plies were arriving almost daily. Refrigerated storage was pro-
vided on arrival at the terminal market warehouse and in the
test stores prior to display. Temperatures between 33 and 40
degrees F. were maintained, as constantly as possible, in all
transit and store refrigeration.
To measure consumer acceptance of prepackaged and bulk
green sweet corn, a test of three weeks duration was conducted
in retail stores in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The
experimental period was April 13 through May 1, 1965. Pack-
ages of 412- and 6-inch ears of husked corn, prepackaged at
the shipping point, were placed side by side in a retail display
together with loose ears of green, unhusked sweet corn. All
prepackaged corn met U. S. Consumer Grade A,- and green corn
met U. S. Fancy6 grade standards at time of shipment from
Florida.

SUSDA, United States Consumer Standards for Husked Corn on the
Cob, Washington, D. C., May 8, 1956.
6USDA, United States Standards for Green Corn (19 F.R. 2221),
Washington, D. C., May 18, 1954.
4







In order to control volume of corn per package as closely as
possible, four ears of the 41/.-inch corn were packaged as a unit,
and three ears of the 6-inch corn were packaged as a second
unit. Thus, each package contained 18 inches of edible corn on
the cob. Green corn of 6-inch or longer ears was offered for
sale in units of three in order to place comparable volume
choices before the customer.
An experimental design of a block type was used. Four retail
stores, two in a low income and two in a high income area, were
selected by the cooperating chain according to the design cri-
teria. A medium income group was not included because it was
believed their purchases would closely approximate those of the
high income group.
The four retail stores used in the study were supermarkets
owned by a northeastern chain. All test stores had weekly
average gross sales of $20,000 or more.
Philadelphia was chosen because it is an important market
for sweet corn and its consumers were believed to be quite con-
scious of quality differences in fresh produce. It is a large
metropolitan area located within a region of great potential for
the sale of prepackaged sweet corn. Philadelphia is on an es-
tablished route of distribution for produce from Florida; facil-
ities for receipt and storage were available; and the general
offices of the cooperating store group were located there.
Since the same factors were tested in each of the three
weeks, no randomization of tests among stores was required.
Location of prepackaged corn and green corn in each display was
changed twice weekly to randomize any effect of location of
items in the display. Comparable quantities of prepackaged and
green corn were on display at all times. Daily records of the
number of ears sold were made in each store.
Prices were held constant throughout the test. The two pre-
packaged items were sold for 25 cents each, and the green sweet
corn was priced at three ears for 21 cents. The 4-cent differen-
tial between the bulk and prepackaged corn represented the cost
of prepackaging at the shipping point.

Consumer Acceptance of Prepackaged Vs. Green Corn
Prepackaged vs. Green Corn.-When customers (consumers)
were given a choice of prepackaged and green sweet corn, at a
constant volume-price and quality relationship, they purchased
more prepackaged corn. During the experimental period 64.1
percent of the corn sold was prepackaged, and 35.9 percent was
5







green corn (Table 1). Expressing the amount of corn sold in
dollars provided a common denominator for comparing the dif-
ferent packages of corn. Expressing sales on a per 100 cus-
tomers or per $100 of produce basis helped adjust for differences
among stores due to customer traffic.


Table I.-Sales of sweet corn per 100 customers, prepackaged and green,
four stores, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 13 through May 1, 1965.

Store Income Prepackaged Green
Total
Number Area 41/2 6" Total 6"
Dollars Per 100 Customers
1 Low 0.9020 0.5676 1.4696 0.7324 2.2020
2 Low 1.0614 .7344 1.7958 .8110 2.6068
3 High .6063 .4746 1.0809 .6179 1.6988
4 High .5433 .3724 .9157 .7270 1.6427
Weighted average .7113 .5126 1.2239 .6848 1.9087
Percent of total 37.3 26.8 64.1 35.9 100.0


Customers preferred prepackaged corn and were willing to
pay the difference in price to obtain it. Using the paired "t"
test, the difference in sales between all prepackaged and green
corn was highly significant.7 The "t" test was used since sales
of each type of corn in each store and in each week were gen-
erated in the same environment. It was believed that the pair-
ing of observations would provide an adjustment for extraneous
factors due to differences in stores and in weeks.
The difference between sales of 6-inch prepackaged corn and
green corn also was significant. In this case, customers preferred
the green corn to the 6-inch prepackaged product. However, it
was not determined whether this preference was due to the size
of package (three ears), or to some other factor. When sales of
the 41/2-inch package (four ears) were compared with those for
green corn, the difference was not significant. Customers pur-
chased almost the same amount of each type.
Prepackaged Corn.-A comparison of sales of the 41/ -inch
and 6-inch prepackaged corn showed a highly significant prefer-
ence for the 41/2-inch package. This preference is believed to
have been influenced more by the number of ears per package
than by the length of ear. Housewives may have purchased
corn on the basis of one ear per member of the family.8

SFor results of the test see Appendix Table 1.
SU. S. Bureau of the Census, Population, 1960, 3.8 persons per family.
6







Income Areas.-As stated previously, two of the stores were
in a low income area, essentially a factory district with weekly
payrolls. The other two stores were in an area of high income
apartment dwellers and home owners who were paid bimonthly
and monthly.
There was a significant difference in sales between the two
income areas. Low income stores sold more total corn and more
of each of the prepackaged items per 100 customers than high
income stores (Table 2). Low income purchasers bought 5 per-
cent more of the 41/2-inch package but 6 percent less of the
green corn than customers in high income stores. There was
little difference in sales of 6-inch corn between income areas.
Convenience may have been a more important consideration in
low income areas where more members of the family probably
were working than in high income areas. Also, there is the
possibility that low income purchasers were more attracted by
the ability to see the product.

Table 2.-Sales of sweet corn per 100 customers, prepackaged and green,
by income area, four stores, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 13 through May
1, 1965.


Income
Area


Prepackaged Green


Prepackaged Green
41/2" 6" Total 6"
Dollars Per 100 Customers


Total


Low 0.9903 0.6600 1.6503 0.7759 2.4262
High .5907 .4488 1.0395 .6453 1.6848
Weighted average .7113 .5126 1.2239 .6848 1.9087
Percent
Low 40.8 27.2 68.0 32.0 100.0
High 35.1 26.6 61.7 38.3 100.0
Average 37.3 26.8 64.1 35.9 100.0

Differences in total purchases by income areas may be related
to the diet consciousness of the two groups. High income con-
sumers, normally better educated and less likely to do heavy
physical labor, may be more diet conscious and purchase foods
of lower calorie and starch content.
Sales of sweet corn per $100 of produce in low income stores
were twice as high as in high income stores for all items except
green corn, adding emphasis to conclusions above with regard
to convenience and diets (Table 3). It is possible also, that high
income consumers purchase more of the higher priced specialty
produce items, thus reducing the relative importance of sweet
corn.
It is worthy of note that while sales of all sweet corn in-
creased the second and third weeks of the study when compared
7








Table 3.-Sales of sweet corn per $100 produce, prepackaged and green,
by income area, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 13 through May 1, 1965.

Income Prepackaged Green Total
Area 41/2" 6" Total 6"
Dollars Per $100 Produce
Low 2.2250 1.4829 3.7079 1.7434 5.4513
High .9546 .7254 1.6800 1.0429 2.7229
Weighted average 1.2560 .9051 2.1611 1.2091 3.3702


to the first week's sales, the index of change was greatest in
favor of the green corn. The increase in purchases was greater
for green corn than for prepackaged sweet corn in each income
area and in each week following initial introduction (Table 4).
This may indicate that customers returned to purchasing green
corn after the first impact of buying the prepackaged item. The
measurement of purchases of both types of corn over a longer
period of time would be required to prove such a conclusion.

Table 4.-Index of change in sales of sweet corn per $100 produce, pre-
packaged and green, by week and income area, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
April 13 through May 1, 1965 (Sales in week 1 = 100).

Index of Sales per $100 Produce
Week Prepackaged Green Total
41/2" 6" Total 6"


1
2
3
Weekly average


1
2
3
Weekly average


1
2
3
Weekly average


100
129
114
114


100
107
114
107


100
115
114
109


100
100
133
110


100
109
123
110


100
105
126
110


Low Income
100
117
122
112
High Income
100
108
118
108
All Areas
100
110
119
109


100
136
181
137


100
186
166
149


100
167
171
144


100
122
138
119


100
132
133
121


100
127
135
120


Observations
1. If the film used to wrap the prepackaged corn had become
punctured, or the package had been improperly sealed, the
kernels tended to dent and the cob ends to dry out rapidly.
Holes were observed from pinpoint size to actual breaks in the
film. Customers shied away from ears with dented kernels and
dried ends.


8







2. After about five days in the package a blanching of the
normal yellow color was observed in the kernels of some ears.
The cause of this was not determined, but customers appeared
quite conscious of color in prepackaged corn.
3. Slack packs and packages with small or off-size ears re-
mained in displays longer than full, uniform-sized-ear packages.
This was particularly true of the short-ear packages. All of the
ears in a package should be of a uniform size, and the package
should be completely filled.
4. Damaged kernels or "dry-back" are much more notice-
able in packaged corn. Better tip-fill and more careful handling
are required when corn is prepackaged.
5. Present handling practices of wholesalers and chains are
not conducive to the maintenance of highest quality in green
corn. Wholesale receivers allow corn to set on unrefrigerated
platforms for several hours while being sold. Deliveries from
the wholesale market or chain warehouses to retail stores are
often unrefrigerated for three to 12 hours before being placed
in refrigerated retail storage. Such practices reduce shelf life
and increase spoilage losses in retail stores.
6. About seven days from stalk to consumer is all the pre-
packaged or green corn will stand under present commercial
conditions.
7. Chain stores will experience less product loss and fewer
man hours for setting up and maintaining prepackaged displays
provided proper refrigeration is maintained for delivery, stor-
age, and display.
8. Further economic research needs to be accomplished on:
(a) The number of ears customers prefer per package.
(b) Consumer response to various prices per ear.
(c) Consumer response to ears of varying length.
(d) Consumer response to prepackaged corn over a longer
period of time.
(e) Grower returns per equivalent crate of green corn.

Summary and Conclusions
Consumers preferred the prepackaged corn (64.1 percent) to
the green corn (35.9 percent) and were willing to pay the 4-cent
differential in price to obtain it. They preferred the 41/.-inch
package over the 6-inch package but bought about the same
amount of green corn as of the 41/.-inch package. They also pre-
ferred green corn to the 6-inch package. Customers may have
9







been influenced by the number of members in the family when
purchasing corn. There is some slight evidence that preferences
between green and prepackaged corn may change over time.
Low income customers purchased more total corn and more
prepackaged corn per 100 customers than high income cus-
tomers. Low income customers may be purchasing convenience
and high calorie content foods, while high income customers may
be more diet conscious, have more time for food preparation,
and purchase more specialty produce items.
Sweet corn, husked and prepackaged at the shipping point
in lengths of 41/2 to 6 inches, can be sold in retail stores. More
care must be taken in handling it than is presently being done
with green corn. Preventing physical damage and maintaining
high quality by proper refrigerating from the time it is pack-
aged at the shipping point until it reaches the consumer is of
prime importance.

Acknowledgments
Grateful appreciation for valuable assistance in the prep-
aration and conduct of this study is expressed to all who
participated. The Florida Sweet Corn Advisory Committee per-
mitted the use of 41/2-inch corn for research purposes. Flavor
Pict Co-op. of Delray Beach, Florida, supplied the prepackaged
corn and arranged for delivery of supplies to the test city.
H. J. Gosser and Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ex-
tended the facilities of that organization for the receipt, storage,
and distribution of supplies and administration of accounting
procedures. Penn Fruit Company, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsyl-
vania, supplied the test stores and furnished information re-
quired for the transformation of data for analytical purposes.
Drs. M. R. Langham, Department of Agricultural Economics,
and F. G. Martin, Department of Statistics, College of Agricul-
ture, University of Florida, assisted in selecting the statistical
design of the experiment and determining analytical procedures.


10










APPENDIX


Appendix Table 1.-"t" test of sales of sweet corn per 100 customers,
prepackaged and green, four stores, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 13 through
May 1, 1965.

Paired "t" Value
Observations
6" vs. green 11 12.7054**
41/2" vs. 6" 11 5.2741**
Prepackaged vs. green 11 5.9101**
412" vs. green 11 .6637

**Significant at 98% confidence level. "t" value for 11 df @ 98%
3.106.


11








Career Opportunities in Agricultural Economics


Agricultural Economics is a study of the business side of
agriculture, and as, such, I-Ts vWith managing human and
natural re. Wirces.: iaces all of agriculture because
.ev'ry area of agW ilt.ds upor management. Because of
this erogd~fu n r ,cultilal Economics is sometimes called
the iringr hf ience in oajcuLiLre. Training in Agricultural
Econo cs offers s qn~.iaje.Trcg, and' rewarding opportunity for
young r' ,and wn nen with either rural-'r urban backgrounds.
In a recent survey,, 44 per grdtiating in Agricultural
Economics:at the Uni .vi~ytofFLoduring the five-year period
ending in 1964 gayhei atesffn;'Ten of the 44 were man-
agers (credit, f -gfove, store', tc.), nine were in graduate or
law school, sl*ivere salesmen, of agricultural or other products,
Five were attorneys, five were market analysts, three were in the
military or Peace Corps, two were farmers, and one each was in
banking, college teaching, inspection of agricultural production,
and government-sponsored farm financing.
Thirty-seven of the 44 persons who gave their occupation also
reported their salaries. Eight of them were still in school. The
average salary of the 29 not in school was a little over $7,300 per
year. The range in salaries, excluding persons in the military,
Peace Corps and school, was $5,200 to $20,000 per year. The
average starting salary of 18 baccalaureate graduates was about
$6,400 per year. For each year of experience, salaries increased
about $200 per year.
A large portion of the graduates who were surveyed indicated
they were happy with their choice of agricultural economics as a
field of study. Well over 80 percent of the group felt that their
opportunities as agricultural economists were excellent.
For further information concerning Agricultural Economics
training, write to:
Dr. K. R. Tefertiller
Chairman, Department of Agricultural Economics
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32601




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