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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1218: IX International Symposium on Kiwifruit

How to position kiwiberry in the Flemish market based upon consumer research

Authors:   F. Vanhonacker, F. Debersaques
Keywords:   marketing, consumer, kiwiberry, questionnaire, Flanders, opportunities
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1218.8
Kiwiberry is a relatively unknown fruit on the Flemish market, due to its rather recent and small-scale introduction. Nevertheless, production and sales volumes have been substantially increasing over the years. To uncover how to position kiwiberry best to the end user, consumer research was conducted in different steps: 1) a pre-survey queried 164 supermarket customers for product awareness, consumer pre-taste expectations and post-taste experience; and 2) focus group interviews were conducted to obtain the necessary input for the subsequent web-based questionnaire (n=443). Results revealed that kiwiberry was unknown to about half of the participants. The product was perceived remarkably more positively when presented sliced in half (90% positive) versus as a whole fruit (50% positive). After tasting, the majority (85%) favorably rated the flavor, a factor that determines satisfaction and repeat purchases. Additionally, the general appreciation of kiwiberry was associated with statements such as ‘… is something else’ and ‘… is convenient’, rather than with the notion ‘… is healthy’. The limited predicted value of health could be related to the fact that all fruits are considered healthy, and no differentiation is made between fruits. This indicates that the product’s distinctiveness and convenience should be promoted as unique selling points, rather than the current strategy that emphasizes health benefits. Furthermore, kiwiberry was more popular among younger people and those that seek pleasure when buying and consuming food. Finally, the current market price of the product is an issue of concern, given that only a minority (18%) of the participants indicated that they were willing to pay more than 2.50 euro per portion of 125 g. Collectively, this survey provides useful information for producers, distributors and sellers for marketing to consumers of kiwiberries and its derived products.

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