Survey Asks Consumers, "Are You a Cruncher, Leaner or In-Betweener?"

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Poll Reveals How Americans Prefer to Savor Fresh California Peaches, Plums and Nectarines

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Once consumers understand their personal preference, it's much easier to find a California peach, plum or nectarine that satisfies their craving

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What defines the perfect peach, plum or nectarine? A new survey from the California Tree Fruit Agreement asked Americans their opinion, and reveals three distinct groups of California peach, plum and nectarine connoisseurs - with very different preferences.

Picking the ideal peach, plum or nectarine is a very individual matter, and to do so, understanding your personal snacking preference is essential. To help Americans in their quest for that perfect piece of fruit, the California Tree Fruit Agreement commissioned a national survey asking the question: Are you a Cruncher, Leaner or In-Betweener?

Following is what they learned about American peach, plum and nectarine consumers:

  • 17% are Crunchers. The Cruncher enjoys the taste and texture of peaches, plums and nectarines that are on the firm, crisp side. You can ask them how the fruit tastes, but they probably won't hear you.
  • 33% are Leaners. The Leaner can be spotted with a uniquely curved posture, enjoying fresh California peaches, plums and nectarines without creating a wardrobe mess. They like their fruit soft and juicy - and have been known to go through a napkin or two.
  • 50% are In-Betweeners. The In-Betweener looks for fruit that is softly firm and slightly juicy - just moist enough to enjoy without dribbling.

Survey highlights reveal that fruit preference varies based on gender, age and regions across the country. Noteworthy highlights include:

  • Best of Both Worlds - While half of consumers (50 percent) are In-Betweeners, preferring to snack on peaches, plums, and nectarines when they are slightly firm and slightly juicy, Leaners out-number Crunchers by nearly a two-to-one margin!
  • Tough Guys - Men are more likely than women to be Crunchers, preferring their peaches, plums and nectarines firm and crisp. As an example, 18 percent of men prefer their peaches crisp while only 11 percent of women prefer them on the firm side.
  • Southern Softies - Fruit lovers in the South, more so than those in other parts of the country, tend to enjoy their peaches, plums and nectarines on the soft and juicy side. In fact, 35 percent of residents of the South prefer their plums to be soft and juicy, compared to 30 percent in the West, 29 percent in the Northeast and 27 percent in the North Central part of the country.
  • The Distinguished Cruncher - Older Americans, 65 years and older, are more likely than their younger counterparts to be Crunchers. When it comes to eating California nectarines, 21 percent of those 65 and older are Crunchers, while only 11 percent of the 25 - 34 year old demographic prefers their peaches, plums and nectarines firm and crisp.

The good news for all types - Crunchers, Leaners and In-Betweeners - is that whatever your preference, it's easy to get the perfect California peach, plum or nectarine experience. Following are selection tips to make it simple:

  • Remember, red color is not an indicator of ripeness. When choosing peaches and nectarines, to check ripeness, look for an even yellow color without green around the stem and a fragrant aroma.
  • When choosing plums, look for a slight "spring" when gently palmed and a fragrant aroma.
  • If fruit is more firm than you prefer when you buy it, place it in a fruit bowl for a day or two. When it's just the way you like it, enjoy it at room temperature or store it in the fridge to halt ripening.
  • White-flesh varieties of peaches and nectarines can be enjoyed a little firmer, as they are less tart and will be sweet even when firm - perfect for Crunchers and In-Betweeners!

"Once consumers understand their personal preference, it's much easier to find a California peach, plum or nectarine that satisfies their craving," said Sheri Mierau, president, California Tree Fruit Agreement. "Whatever your preference, there are more than 600 varieties of peaches, plums and nectarines grown in California that are sure to please your summer fruit palate.

About the California Tree Fruit Agreement and PPN Network
The California Tree Fruit Agreement (, headquartered in Reedley, Calif., administers marketing order programs on behalf of California's 1,100 fresh peach, plum and nectarine growers. The CTFA also includes the PPN Network, a strategic marketing resource for the peach, plum and nectarine industry. The PPN Network delivers information and marketing expertise to growers, shippers, retailers, and serves as a resource for the media.

Editor's Note: This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among a national probability sample of 1,003 adults comprising 500 men and 503 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. Results for cruncher, leaner and in-betweener consumers as a whole are among those consumers with a preference. Interviewing for this CARAVAN® Survey was completed during the period June 7-10, 2007.


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