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MTAA-RR » news » twhid » ah the good ole days:

May 03, 2008

Ah, the good ole days

posted at 00:14 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

A Comparative Study of Apples and Oranges


MTAA for Website Unseen #98 (ed: this piece no longer works in contemporary browsers FYI) with support from MT Science.

This introduction will cover the main themes of the larger study soon to be published. The comparison of apples and oranges should be viewed within the 3 main aspects of fruit usage in the United States. These aspects being (1) pleasure, (2) nutrition and (3) decorative display. This study compares apples and oranges within the cultural and national boundaries of the United States.

Areas used for comparison in this study.
1. Color
2. Shape and Texture (includes skin and meat)
3. Taste
4. Nutritional Value
5. Economics (includes price and availability)
6. Traditional and Non-Traditional Uses


MTAA conducted comparison tests of the colors of the two fruits with these criteria in mind. 1) In what quantity does the fruit’s color promote appetite for it, i.e. does the red color of a granny smith promote greater appetite than the orange color of a Sunkist. (For the purposes of this study we’ve included only red apples and no golden or yellow.) 2) Does the color promote each fruit’s decorative display in a domestic or commercial setting, including dining room tables, sideboards, coffee tables, kitchen tables, etc in domestic settings and retail furniture outlets. Boardroom tables, reception desks and marketing and/or advertising materials were judged in non-fruit related industries. These studies involved interviews with lay people and professionals who generally use fruit as decorative devices. MTAA also used laboratory studies designed to elicit responses from subjects as to their proclivity to either apples or oranges as decorative devices. We used only color in these studies and experiments and did similar experiments using shape and texture as the criteria.


MTAA compared these characteristics using the same criteria with similar sampling and testing procedures as the color tests. We measured how the shape and texture promoted appetite and decorative display. These tests were conducted both through visual inspection of shape and texture as well as through a tactile inspection i.e. a “feel” test. With the tactile test MTAA added an identifier section, quantifying which fruit was more easily identified through touch.


MTAA conducted numerous taste tests using people, monkeys, rats and parrots as testers. With each test group we tested which fruit was more preferred. A Crave Test was also conducted, which measured which fruit was more craved by the test groups. The Crave Test is methodologically very complicated and the details will be published in the full study but it measures how often the test subjects thought of, visualized, or sought after the fruit.

MTAA also tested the taste and crave-ability of prepared foods that use the two fruits as a main ingredient including juices.


Using data from the USDA, MTAA compared the nutritional values of the fruits as well as a number of prepared foods that use the fruits as a main ingredient.


MTAA compared the availability and price during different times of the year in different parts of the US using empirical data provided by the National Apple Growers Association and the National Orange Growers Association. MTAA have also created a comprehensive price/nutrition ratio for all parts of the country for the year 1998.


MTAA did extensive anthropological research into the uses of the two fruits in different cultural contexts such as ingredients in recipes, prominence in religious ceremonies, use as motivational awards, depiction in art and architecture, and general status symbols within different cultural categories. These categories included the contemporary dominant culture of the US, contemporary and historical subcultures, indigenous populations, and small-scale societies both contemporary and historical.

These studies yielded data with which MTAA could create an “Importance Factor” within each cultural category.

The wealth of information which these comparison studies yeilded is currently being analyzed at the MT Science Labs. MTAA forecast a 2004 release of the Comparative Study of Apples and Oranges.

published 2/28/00 permanent link to this post

MTAA-RR » news » twhid » ah the good ole days

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