There are new consumer trends for fruit and vegetables. Savings formats, bulk and the retail brand are gaining importance in a context in which consumers are prioritising savings. The food inflation that is financially suffocating Spanish families, especially the most vulnerable, has turned price into a decisive factor in the purchasing decision-making process. However, there are some exceptions where consumers prioritise other aspects over the cost of a given product.
The latest AECOC Shopperview study, which was presented this week at the 25th AECOC (Association of FMCG Companies) Fruit and Vegetable Congress, indicates that the main reason for consumers to buy is not the price but the appearance of the food. Thus, 79% of consumers cite appearance as a priority factor as opposed to cost, indicated by 76%.
In the case of fruit and vegetables, 50% take into account the fact that the product must be in season, 52% buy fresh produce from the local area and 32% ask for environmentally friendly production.
Beyond all these aspects, when buying fresh products, what consumers are looking for is expert advice. Almost half of them admit that they buy according to what their greengrocer recommends. For brand image, however, there is still a long way to go. In the case of fresh produce, for only 23% of consumers, the brand is relevant in their purchasing decision.
Brands have been used since their origin to enable consumers to distinguish goods from different producers and are one of the main assets of companies. As the American Marketing Association states, “A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other characteristic that identifies a good or service of one seller as distinct from those of other sellers“. But in the case of fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables, brands have been absent for many years.
Members of the production and marketing channels are aware of brand value from the consumer’s perspective. It is the consumer who recognises the dimensions of the different brands and who values some more than others when it comes to paying a higher price. A survey carried out by the Polytechnic University of Valencia reveals that three-quarters of those interviewed agree that Plátano de Canarias, Zespri and Pink Lady are the most recognised fruit and vegetable brands. More than half of them mentioned other brands such as Kumato, Fashion or Persimon. And others that appeared in more than one interview were Bouquet, Dulce, Bollo, Melones el Abuelo, Marlene, Del Monte or Florette, although the latter belongs to the category of packaged fresh vegetables.
Some progress is being made in this area.