Packaging definitely makes the product, according to a study conducted by Michigan State University, Lansing.
The study found that shoppers prefer to buy produce in rigid, bio-based plastic containers with a long shelf life and a low price, according to a news release.
In fact, consumers prefer sweet cherries in the rigid containers over those in slider bags, according to the study.
"Consumers believe the type of packaging material could affect the quality of the food product, and the rigid container may provide better protection compared to the flexible bag,” Georgios Koutsimanis, a university packaging researcher, said in the release.
The preference of a bio-based product of a petroleum-based one shows their increased interest in the environment, he said.
A group of MSU researchers, led by Koutsimanis, surveyed about 300 participants about their attitudes on fresh produce in general and sweet cherries in particular.
For produce packaging, "extend the 'best by' date" was ranked the most important convenience feature.
The most important attributes that would affect sweet cherry purchases are price, shelf life and container size.