BLE Research project "Sustainable development of the general concept of plant protection in organic fruit growing including relevant aspects of the society as a whole based on five years database of the application of measures relevant for plant protection in practice"

No matter if organic or not - Consumers seem to prefer perfect looking apples. Which possibilities do we have to increase the acceptance of organically produced apples with skin deficiencies?  This is what we aim to find out with help of a consumer study.

Duration of project

April 2020 - November 2020

Project partner

Fördergemeinschaft Ökologischer Obstbau e.V.
Dienstleistungszentrum Ländlicher Raum (DLR) – Rheinpfalz
Öko-Obstbau Norddeutschland (ÖON)

Background and objective

Within the project "sustainable development of the general concept of plant protection in organic fruit growing" it became clear that the consumer demand for apples influences the future development of pesticide use in organic fruit growing. Perfect looking (organic) apples require more pesticides than apples with minor skin deficiencies.

The goal of the study is to explore consumers' opinions and preferences for organic apples with focus on consumers tolerance for skin deficiencies. How does provided information about skin deficiencies and pesticide use influence consumers' purchase decisions?

Against this background the following questions regarding consumers will be asked:


  • Which external quality standards do consumers expect of organic apples?
  • How do consumers evaluate organic apples with skin definiencies?
  • Which measures exist to increase tolerance for organic apples with skin deficiencies?
  • Which could be possible ways to communicate causes for skin deficiencies, reduced pesticide use and its consequences for biodiversity to consumers?
ApplesImage: Ronja Hüppe


  • Hüppe, R. and Zander, K. (2023): Perfect apples or sustainable production?—Consumer perspectives from Germany. Journal of Consumer Behaviour. 1-13.