WSU evaluates a new apple from Stemilt

The next time you are in your neighborhood grocery store you many want to look for a new apple with the sporty name Piñata.
Stemilt Customer Development Specialist
Travis Chin

The Piñata is produced by Stemilt Growers in Wenatchee, and features a distinct tropical twist. “We want to expand the market for apples and by doing this get people to eat less junk food,” Stemilt Customer Development Specialist Travis Chin said.

Piñata has drawn rave reviews and is even featured in recipes by Jason Wilson of Crush, one of Seattle’s premiere restaurants. In order to see how Piñata stacks up, Stemilt recently came to WSU to participate in a sensory evaluation to learn how the Piñata compared to other apples.
Stemilt contracted with WSU food science professor Stephanie Clark to run the sensory evaluation in order to eliminate bias. “If we did the sensory evaluation at Stemilt there could be bias from us conducting our own evaluation,” Chin said.
The sensory evaluation was also beneficial to the university as well. “We do not profit from this or any other sensory evaluation. These studies are performed at cost,” Clark said. “We conduct them as a service to industry and so that students get the practical experience of running a sensory panel which increases the quality of students’ education.”
The sensory evaluation consisted of participants being given four different samples of apples. Participants were then asked to rate the apple based on appearance, flavor, sweetness, tartness, crunch and how likely they were to buy the apple from the store. Samples were given in random order to prevent first-impression bias. Sixty participants were recruited for the study in order to make it statistically significant.
The Piñata study was one of several Stemilt has conducted at WSU. Stemilt will present the evaluation information to retailers and consumers so they can compare the Piñata with other apples they are familiar with.
“Retailers need the proper signage and consumer awareness in order to present the Piñata in ways that will generate consumer interest,” Chin said. “This study will help us achieve that.”
Currently, Piñata is available seasonally from Jan. 1 to mid June in United States. The new apple is also available in Europe, where it is marketed as Pinova.
For more information on the Washington State University and the University of Idaho School of Food Science, please visit the School’s Web site at:
For recipes using Piñata, please visit Stemilt’s Web site at:

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