Promote product in convenience market, says consultant

Tomatoes could be promoted better as a convenience food, a marketing specialist told growers at the conference.

Senior food marketing consultant with consultancy Bidwells, Phil Bicknell, said analysis of Dunnhumby consumer research, information which is sourced from tracking actual purchases by 1.2 million shoppers, showed that tomatoes didn't appeal to shoppers where convenience was the main driver.

"There is untapped potential to position tomatoes as more convenient, in snack packs on garage forecourts for instance, or in lunchbox packs where there is one tomato for each day of the week," he said. Lunchbox packs had worked for raisins, he added, which had been a category "dying on its feet".

He said the data showed that while tomatoes were important to young families, they dropped off the shopping list for older families. "Can you pinpoint why that is and what they're switching to?"

He also looked at the organic option. The "fine food" shoppers buy about half of all organic tomatoes. Shoppers select the organic category not for health reasons but because they feel it is an indicator of quality.

Bicknell also suggested that the British flag could be used more sparingly on packaging, to target shoppers who valued home-grown. Buying British didn't matter to young families, he said, but it did to pensioners. "But you could use it to attract those shoppers to higher-value products," he said.

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