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Tomato attributes and consumer preferences – a consumer segmentation approach

Kristin Jürkenbeck (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Marketing of Food and Agricultural Products, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany)
Achim Spiller (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Marketing of Food and Agricultural Products, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany)
Stephan G.H. Meyerding (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Marketing of Food and Agricultural Products, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 2 October 2019

Issue publication date: 6 January 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

Vegetables are an important component of a healthy diet. Given that tomatoes are the most purchased vegetable in Germany, the purpose of this paper is to focus on how consumers evaluate tomatoes during their food choice. Each consumer has different preferences and, in order to target them, it is necessary to identify consumer groups. The study segments tomato consumers into homogenous target groups.

Design/methodology/approach

A choice experiment was used to simulate the buying situation in a supermarket. The data were analysed using latent class analysis, as well as principal component factor analysis to measure food-related lifestyles. The sample consisted of 1,027 consumers and was representative of the characteristics of gender, age, educational level and income for the German population.

Findings

Consumers perceive air transportation and plastic wrapping as most climate damaging in tomato production. Six different tomato consumer groups were identified and named according to the attribute they found most important, i.e. “Balanced consumers”, “Price-conscious consumers”, “Taste enthusiasts”, “Colour-sensitive consumers”, “Price-conscious consumers with a taste preference” and “Colour- and price-sensitive consumers”. In three clusters, colour was the most important attribute. However, green and yellow tomatoes were rejected by all segments, indicating communication problems.

Originality/value

The results of this study provide breeders and marketers with valuable insights into the factors driving tomato choice. The information was based on a large sample and will help breeders to select the types of tomatoes that are in demand by consumers.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony in Germany (MWK) within the collaborative research project PETRAq+n: Participatory development of quality tomatoes for sustainable regional cultivation.

Citation

Jürkenbeck, K., Spiller, A. and Meyerding, S.G.H. (2020), "Tomato attributes and consumer preferences – a consumer segmentation approach", British Food Journal, Vol. 122 No. 1, pp. 328-344. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-09-2018-0628

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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