Can fruit be more sustainable? A study on consumer preferences towards the use of natural preservatives in chierries

Consumer awareness on how food is produced, the effects of food consumption on health and the environment is growing, and with it the importance of sustainability and sustainable production. In this context, fruits are one of the healthiest and most demanded food products, but also, they are highly perishable, requiring the use of chemical preservatives to extend their shelf life. The latter is inconsistent with consumer demands for healthy and sustainable food products and paves the path for the development of natural harmless preservatives. Therefore, it was deemed
necessary to study consumers’ preferences towards different factors determining a sustainable approach in fruit production and distribution, such as the use of natural preservatives, the local/regional origin, or the organic production. Results reveal a growing interest in society for the use of natural versus artificial preservatives, linked to the increasing awareness of their benefits for health and the environment. However, there are also barriers that prevent these novel products from becoming more extended, such as the existence of a price premium which may turn many consumers away.