The Sweet Appeal of Consistency

A tastier California navel orange will hit the market this season, thanks to seven years of consumer research that has resulted in the all-new California StandardTM.
The CA Standard logo

The California StandardTM is the new standard by which all California navels will be measured, in an effort to ensure a better navel orange eating experience and better sales results.

Previously, California navels were required to meet a ratio measurement, which the industry has now shown to be an ineffective predictor of eating quality. The new California StandardTM instead measures the balance between brix (sweetness) and acidity, which is a superior indicator of sweetness and taste.

Through field testing, it is anticipated that The California StandardTM will significantly improve eating quality and sales, without impacting availability.

"We realized that we needed to strengthen our position in the marketplace and pay as much attention to the inside of the fruit as we have to the outside," noted Joel Nelsen, president of The CA Standard photoCalifornia Citrus Mutual. "We, as an industry, took it upon ourselves to do the research, and find a solution that will benefit the grower and the consumer. The California StandardTM is that solution."

The California StandardTM is the result of consumer research conducted by California Citrus Mutual, the California Citrus Research Board, the University of California and USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The taste studies concluded that Brix minus Acid is a better predictor of flavor than the previous sugar-to-acid ratios. The new Standard was recommended by the California Citrus Mutual, supported by the citrus industry and ultimately adopted into regulation by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

For California Citrus Mutual board chairman Tom Wollenman, The California StandardTM
means that "consumers will receive a product early in the season that has a higher level
of flavor acceptability. A better indicator of good flavor is the essence of the Standard."

Technically, the formula for The California StandardTM is (Brix – (TA*4))*16.5. What that means for the broker, the retailer and the consumer is a navel orange that is tastier – and more consistently tastier, Nelsen added.

The consumer-based research documented several key points that led to the development and adoption of The California StandardTM.

• Competition in the produce aisle has increased and fresh fruit consumption has increased, while fresh orange consumption has dropped
• Early season navels tend to have low customer satisfaction
• A positive eating experience would cause 65% of consumers to eat more navels
• The California StandardTM replaces 35% of less-tasty fruit with fruit that meets consumer expectations
• The California StandardTM exhibits a 90%+ accuracy in determining purchase intent.

"With The California StandardTM we can deliver good fruit at the first delivery, to shorten the repurchase cycle and improve sales," Nelsen concluded. "It's all about better fruit at the right time."

For information about The California StandardTM, visit or contact Joel Nelsen at California Citrus Mutual, 559-592-3790; cell, 559-799-7736.

California Citrus Mutual is a non-profit association of citrus growers, with approximately 2,200 members representing 60 percent of California's 273,000-acre, $2 billion citrus industry. The mission of California Citrus Mutual is to inform, educate, and advocate on behalf of growers to promote a healthy, viable and sustainable California citrus industry. The Exeter, California-based organization was founded in 1977.