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Purchase decision: what defines a perfect tomato?

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According to a study, most consumers to mind the size of tomatoes. © Pixabay/Couleur

 Researchers at the university of Göttingen, Germany, asked 1.000 consumers about their consumption preferences when purchasing tomatoes. Organic was not a focus of the study, but the results could be transferrable to organic tomatoes.

Price and Colour most important

The researchers found that price and colour are the most important attributes for purchase decisions of tomatoes. Although tomatoes have become available in plenty of colours in supermarkets in the last few years, red is still the undisputable number 1. In contrast, green tomatoes are generally avoided – probably because consumers see the colour green as an indication of lacking ripeness. Against the expectations of the researchers, the size of tomatoes played a subordinate role for consumers.

Following attributes were included in the research:

  • Colour
  • Size
  • Inner firmness
  • Taste
  • Skin
  • Aroma
  • Local origin
  • Label
  • Price

Plastic packaging viewed negative

Within the topic of climate friendliness, the study participants ranked plastic packaging as having the highest environmental impact, followed by air transport, which does not play an important role for tomatoes. Kristin Jürkenberg, PhD student and main author of the study said that the results show that a consumer-specific approach could help to increase consumer satisfaction when choosing tomatoes. Dr. Achim Spiller, head of the working group marketing for food and agricultural products at the university of Göttingen sees the current efforts to reduce plastic packaging for food products as an important step for consumers to perceive products as more sustainable. Looking at it this way, the organic specialist trade is on the right path. Consumers won’t find organic tomatoes packed in plastic here.

The study was published in the British Food Journal.

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