What are the most important apple traits that impact consumer preference?

Although a matter of personal preference, most agree the following apple traits affect consumer preference:

  1. Appearance — red apples are preferred over green or yellow apples by most. Good red color means the fruit has reached proper maturity and will eat well. Yellow and green apples, for example Golden Delicious and Granny Smith respectively, are preferred by some for their particular flavor and texture.
  2. Flavor — some people like tart apples (McIntosh), some like sweet apples (Gala), and some like tart-sweet apples (Honeycrisp). It’s a matter of personal preference, but apples must reach the proper maturity to achieve their best flavor, whether tart, sweet, or tart-sweet. In general, apples — even tart ones — get sweeter the longer they are allowed to mature on the tree before being harvested. Some apples get sweeter during cold storage.
  3. Texture — most consumers want a crisp, crunchy apple. Soft, mushy apples are shunned. Granny Smith is an example of an apple that has gained widespread consumer preference because it is almost always crispy-crunchy (albeit tart). Softer-flesh apples such as McIntosh need careful storage and handling to remain minimally crisp to the bite.

For more about consumer preference of apples, see Consumer Evaluation of New, Antique, and Little Known Apple Varieties.