I see these terms used to describe apples on signage at markets and I'm wondering whether they are meant to imply different things and if so what?

For example, this page uses the terms "firm", "crisp", and "crunchy" for different varieties.

2 Answers 2


'Firm', 'Crisp', and 'Crunchy' are not standardised labelling/marketing claims and will vary between vendors. The marketing or procurement teams, or the grower of each variety, may have given the descriptors.

From a sensory evaluation perspective, 'crisp' and 'crunch' also don't have set definitions but some research on consumer opinions has 'crisp' associated with lighter, higher pitch noises and 'crunch' with heavier, lower pitch noises.

Some interesting articles below on crisp vs crunch - the first is very comprehensive on the mechanics and perception, and is free:

Critical Evaluation of Crispy and Crunchy Textures: A Review.
Michael H. Tunick, Charles I. Onwulata, Audrey E. Thomas,John G. Phillips, Sudarsan Mukhopadhyay, Shiowshuh Sheen, Cheng-Kung Liu, Nicholas Latona, Mariana R. Pimentel & Peter H. Cooke.

A review of acoustic research for studying the sensory perception of crisp, crunchy and crackly textures.
Lisa Duizer.
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0924-2244(01)00050-4 (paywall)

Crispiness and Crunchiness - A Difference In Pitch?
Zata M. Vickers
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-4603.1984.tb00375.x (paywall)


In apples, specifically, "crisp" in the name of the variety has some meaning, though I'm not sure how it might be rigorously defined (or that it is.)

The progenitor of the name (as far as I know) is the "HoneyCrisp" apple (which has been followed by various other "xxx Crisp" varieties.) Thus, in apple (specifically) marketing in the present era, it may be indicating (or attempting to evoke, whether true or not) a relatedness to that group of varieties.

Wikipedia mentions HoneyCrisp having particularly large cells and releasing a lot of juice. The bite experience is distinct from "regular" apples, (it was very much a "new sensation" when introduced) though now that it has multiple relations no longer unique. But anyone familiar with apples could group a "crisp of that meaning" apple as distinct from other apples blindfolded, IME.

That may, however, not be what the site referred to means, at all. If, indeed, it means anything other than "let's throw out some words that people typically associate with goodness in apples and see what sells."

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