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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1103: XXIX International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture: Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (IHC2014): XVII International Symposium on Horticultural Economics and Management and V International Symposium on Improving the Performance of Supply Chains in the Transitional Economies

Strategic options for a potato market in decline – lessons from two Swedish studies

Author:   F. Fernqvist
Keywords:   potato, focus group study, consumer, horticultural marketing
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1103.19
In recent decades, the consumption of fresh potatoes in Europe and North America has been declining, possibly due to health concerns, changing income and labour structures and convenience. However, prepared potato products, such as crisps are gaining market share, so convenience is probably a stronger driver for changes in consumption than negative health claims associated with the low carb-high fat, Atkins or Montignac diets. Changing consumption patterns raise questions about the future of the fresh potato market and how a rather bulky product can be differentiated and re-marketed to beat increasing competition, not least from substitute products such as pasta and rice. This study undertook focus group interviews related to consumption and a quantitative consumer survey on attitudes to various product-related attributes in a shopping situation. The focus group results indicated that convenience is one of the strongest drivers behind changing consumption patterns and revealed some significant choice-related factors. The survey results showed that sensory properties (taste and texture), origin and named varieties were among the more important attributes, indicating that these could be relevant marketing arguments. Overall, these results indicate that rather than focusing on bulk and low cost, a strategic option for the fresh potato industry could be to differentiate into convenience and underline consumersRSQUO positive associations with potatoes.

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