Choosing the opposite - consumer attitudes and their choice of tomato

S. Spendrup, L. Ekelund, F. Fernqvist, F. Håkansson
The tomato is an essential staple of cooking and represents an important product in the fruit and vegetable category in ordinary supermarkets. Although several international studies report that consumers express a strong preference for domestic produce, many northern European countries show relatively low domestic market shares for tomatoes. In the case of Sweden, the share is only 13% of the total Swedish tomato market. This implies that there is an attitude-behaviour gap between expressed preferences and actual behaviour, and that other quality attributes affect consumers' choice stronger than what may be predicted from stated attitudes. This paper compiles the results from two separate Swedish studies with the aim to increase the knowledge regarding consumer attitudes and choice of tomatoes in a European perspective. In the first, one quantitative survey was performed on consumers, with the aim of finding out what arguments may apply regarding different quality attributes. Taste and product quality were among the most important attributes, and domestic tomatoes were clearly preferred to imports. In the second study, actual consumer choice was assessed in store to investigate the role of the attributes origin and packaging. Less than 50% of the consumers were aware of where the tomatoes they chose came from when asked the question, and following questions showed other arguments to be of importance. The results confirm an attitude-behaviour gap, and the existence of other factors that may be of greater importance to consumer choice. Theoretical and practical implications to the marketing of horticultural products are discussed in the paper.
Spendrup, S., Ekelund, L., Fernqvist, F. and Håkansson, F. (2019). Choosing the opposite - consumer attitudes and their choice of tomato. Acta Hortic. 1242, 131-138
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1242.18
attitude-behaviour gap, quality, tomato, consumer choice

Acta Horticulturae