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Current Position:Home » News » Food Technology » Topic

Creating clarity on the tomato shelves

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2017-06-15  Views: 1
Core Tip: Shoppers have trouble choosing fresh products.
Shoppers have trouble choosing fresh products. Prominent helps retailer and consumer with their new ‘I feel good’ concept, which focuses on the moment of use of tomatoes.

The tomato supply is large. Consumers can’t see the wood for the trees. Prominent wants to create clarity in the diversity of tomatoes. “Many people don’t know which tomato best suits which recipe. More flavour profiles are introduced in the fresh produce department, but there’s not much explanation yet about the functionality of the product,” says Wim van den Berg from Prominent. “As a producer’s organisation, we think it’s important to know the market. We want to know what happens in kitchens. We see our product as an ingredient of a meal. That’s different from how tomatoes are usually presented.”

Everyone knows the tomato is a versatile vegetable. But precisely because of those many options for use, making a decision is tricky for many consumers, according to Prominent. Wim: “With this new ‘I feel good’ concept, we help the shoppers. Instead of summing up what tomatoes can do, we select one or two characteristics per tomato so that consumers can more easily decide which tomato to buy.” The moment of use is mentioned on the special label by means of icons and a photo of a meal. Additionally, the specific characteristics of the tomato concerned are communicated. “A salad tomato should be aromatic and juicy, and for the grill it should be sweet and firm,” he mentions as examples. “It seems obvious, but there’s too little communication about this on the shop floor.”

Understanding the consumer

Prominent mostly wants to create clarity about tomatoes as ingredients. Which tomato best suits which application isn’t just dependent on how the tomato holds up during processing, flavour also definitely plays it part, according to Wim. Preferences differ per country. Tomatoes are prepared differently everywhere, and the moments of use can also vary. “We try to anticipate that by addressing as large as possible a group, but on the other hand, we also want to surprise consumers with inspiring suggestions to prepare tomatoes differently for a change. Furthermore, many consumers don’t know how to store tomatoes. A tomato can be kept in fruit bowls, they definitely don’t belong in fridges, they lose flavour when kept in refrigerators. These kinds of tips aren’t given often enough.”

“We want to understand our product,” Wim clarifies. “Not just during the cultivation, we have been strong in that for 20 years, but we also have to understand how consumers use and appreciate our product, and we want to help them with that. By becoming more active in the supply chain, and being more complementary in sales with tools such as the ‘I feel good’ concept.” The concept is an example, and can be applied in all European supermarkets. In practice, it comes down to the fact that especially leading supermarkets have started using user icons. “The Netherlands is not very progressive, to be honest. Albert Heijn has many initiatives, but in general, Dutch retail is looking for the right balance on the shelves. With the help of our Shopper Model, that helps us understand the consumers better, we want to play an advisory role in this. For example, clear and simple communication turns out to be very important. Many consumers have a number of favourite recipes that are regularly cooked. Which products best suit these, and how can we get them to experiment more? By adding a new element to an existing recipe, for example. These are all factors that can boost the successful sales of fresh produce products.”

keywords: tomatoes
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