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Freshness Ratings

For fruit
  [vote for,

Picking fruit at a grocery store is hard enough in person, relying on vague stereotypes about how sweet an orange will taste or how ripe a melon is (sniff the bellybutton! or something). Knowing how ripe/sweet/etc. a fruit is when purchasing online is more or less impossible. Yet online shopping is becoming more common.

I just had a bag of fruit delivered in under an hour. The website sent me an e-mail asking me how I liked the service. Well, the delivery guy showed up, so I gave him 5 stars. But what if they asked me how the fruit tasted?

The invention consists of a database of fruit ratings. Customers rate fruit they've purchased based on flavor, sweetness, freshness, ripeness, etc. These are then published along with the fruit's description and are automatically adjusted over time (using artificial intelligence routines based on actual experience). In exchange for the effort, the customer gets a slight discount off their next order.

This would have a secondary benefit of rating the growers. If a grocery store consistently receives fruit from a particular grower that is of low quality, they'll know to either switch growers or offer less money for the fruit.

Worldgineer, Aug 19 2016

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       I dunno. My wife worked in gourmet food stores - she knows fruit. There are seasons, and within seasons are windows to harvest and deliver in.   

       If you insist on buying it early, sight unseen, they'll sell it to you. But if you want first quality, go look at it and smell it. Otherwise, caveat emptor.
normzone, Aug 20 2016

       We should train dogs to sniff out the best fruit. It sucks, though, that with this added efficiency the poor will end up getting poorer nutrition (as properly ripe and more nutritious fruit tastes best)
Voice, Aug 20 2016

       // We should train dogs //   

       You need to be really, REALLY careful with what you train dogs to do. Bad things can happen.   

       For instance, it is entirely possible to train breeds not normally thought of as sniffer dogs to sniff out, for instance, explosives, by the well-proven "work for food" technique.   

       But since the truly intelligent dog soon works out that the faster the Pink Blob gets its object of desire, the sooner the food will appear, it can prove alarmingly difficult to then train them to never, EVER, under any circumstances, to retrieve ...   

       Worse, once that smell=food association is formed, it can be impossible to dislodge, with truly terrifying consequences.
8th of 7, Aug 20 2016

       I'm taking a stand here. A stand for Farmer's Markets everywhere. There is something sacred and extraordinaire about receiving, eating and enjoying the produce of Earth, directly from the hands that gardened it. You can ask questions, taste, chose, or reject, at will and/or at whim.   

       You support directly, and help rid the world of middlemen.
blissmiss, Aug 21 2016

       @norm/bliss - yes, obviously seeing and touching fruit is helpful. But tasting every fruit is an inefficient system - even at my local farmer's market I wouldn't ask them to cut open every melon I might buy. This is a method for *someone* to taste and smell every fruit, even if it isn't you.
Worldgineer, Aug 23 2016

       // A stand for Farmer's Markets everywhere. There is something sacred and extraordinaire about receiving, eating and enjoying the produce of Earth, directly from the hands that gardened it.//   

       Gardener's markets perhaps. I was taken to a farmer's market in Cheshire last time I was there, my companions were able to pick up some lovely local pineapples and strawberries. Remarkable for February. I got quite cynical about the whole deal after that.
bs0u0155, Aug 23 2016

       I think you'll find, [bs], that the Cheshire pineapple industry is long-established. Indeed, pineapple seedlings from Cheshire were used to establish plantations in Guatamala, Surinam, Malaysia, Hawaii and Brazil, once it was realized that this fruit could withstand the tropical heat.   

       Of course, without the late frost on the developing fruit, tropical pineapples never develop as deep a sweetness as native Cheshire fruit, which is why so much tropical pineapple sold tinned in syrup.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 23 2016

       // Remarkable for February. //   

       Indeed - after all, you're getting near to the end of the season then.   

       // I got quite cynical about the whole deal after that. //   

       Perish the thought ...
8th of 7, Aug 23 2016

       Nature is not really about consistancy. Getting an exceptional piece of fruit should be an inspiring rare delight. When the supply is consistantly low or exceptionally bad that's when a complaint should be used.   

       Technology is designed to give consistancy. Lab grown fruit cells might be able to be designed for a specific constant taste desire.
wjt, Aug 25 2016

       //Nature is not really about consistancy. Getting an exceptional piece of fruit should be an inspiring rare delight//   

       An interesting part of human psychology that. A friend of mine recently did a project at a Scottish whiskey distillery. They were trying to work out why 1/3rd of the batches were wonderful, 1/3rd average and 1/3rd sub- student grade. A few months with all kinds of sensors and the problem was traced. They can now get the good stuff 90% of the time. Strange thing is, whiskey people hate this. They seem to prefer the special nature of the occasional good batch, the varied (and wrong) opinions of the master tasters as to why the bad batches were bad and apparently only drinking good whiskey some of the time. The same thing exists all over the place, quality control was dreadful in the '60s, so most of the guitars from that era are total clunkers, doesn't stop people getting all misty eyed and shelling out wads of cash though. I wonder if I should market aficionado-grade antibiotics? The 66% failure rate and horrible deaths really make you appreciate the efficacy of your own batch.   

       Fruit, however, is often consistently bad. Which is why we have to nag people to eat it. You can get great fruit in California, and Spain etc. but not in England, or the US east coast. Weirdly, its often the same fruit. Just with a few days refrigerated storage and transport. Which begs the question, should we be nagging people in cold rainy places to consume water-intensive products from drought stricken areas? Or should we just embrace the 2 week glut of glorious strawberries and resign ourselves to eating sheep or whatever for the rest of the year.
bs0u0155, Aug 25 2016


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