UPDATED: Strawberries still rank high

10/18/2013 04:57:00 PM
Mike Hornick

(UPDATED COVERAGE Oct. 24) Consumers asked to pick their favorite fruits from a list of 14 named strawberries most often, according to research by the California Strawberry Commission.

Strawberries were named 43% of the time, followed by bananas, 42%; watermelon, 28%; apples, 24%; and grapes 24%, said Chris Christian, vice president of marketing for the Watsonville-based commission.

Adults asked to name their children’s favorite fruits identified strawberries 29% of the time, followed by bananas, 26%; and grapes, 23%.

The findings were based on an online survey of 1,506 consumers.

“It was a nationally representative sample of males and females, picking from the top selling fruits in the produce department,” Christian said.

Participants had to be primary shoppers in their household; about 80% were women.

Separately, the commission found increased recognition of the berry’s health benefits in the past three years. Ninety-six percent of consumers are eating strawberries, and more than half of those are eating them once or more each week, it reports. Women and younger adults are the heaviest consumers of strawberries.

Consumption once or more weekly is considered heavy use by the commission, and consumers describing such use are 52% in its latest study, up from 35% in 2010. Impulse buys account for 41% of strawberry purchases while 23% of purchases are planned, up from 14%.

The commission also researched shopper reaction to price changes for strawberries and found daily price shifts mattered relatively little. Consumers do not switch between different strawberry package sizes based on price, it concluded.

The pricing study also produced an Excel-based price optimization tool for strawberry shippers and marketers.

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