04 Jul Consumer i – British Strawberries
Consumer i: British Strawberries
Tasted and Rated by people like you
Tested in what should have been the height of summer, with Wimbledon approaching, British Strawberries are one of the Nation’s favourite summer fruits. With some retailers predicting to sell more strawberries than bread and milk over the next few months, it is essential for retailers to ensure they are selling first class produce. We thought we’d find out what the typical consumer thinks of the strawberries currently on shelf at local retailers.
What makes a good strawberry?
First impressions really did count on this occasion, with freshness, condition and overall appearance being key drivers of intention to purchase before tasting. Testers were critical in their assessment, taking time to look at the condition of the strawberries within the punnet, assessing colour and size, as they would typically do so in-store. Where any form of bruising or blemishing was evident, retailers were penalised and participants were less likely to buy. A bright, vibrant colour was key for a winning strawberry with high scorers more likely to be described as ‘bright in colour’. A pale or dull colour was an indicator of a strawberry not being quite ripe enough.
Inevitably though, it was the taste that was the key decider. Testers were looking for a strawberry which was not only sweet, but full of flavour. Variety played some role here with the Driscoll Elizabeth variety the real winners with a sweet and tasty berry. The popular Elsanta variety received fairly average ratings, whilst Malling Centenary saw a varied performance between retailers. The level of flavour however is ultimately determined by the level of ripeness. Under ripe, and the berry is too sour and bitter. Left too long and it can become overripe and watery.
The texture of the strawberries was also critical to the assessment which again, was ultimately determined by the level of ripeness. A good strawberry needed to be firm to bite, as well as juicy. Where strawberries had over ripened, they became soft and mushy in texture, resulting in a disappointing eat.
Who does them best?
Tesco was the big success story, coming in second place alongside high end retailer M&S. Where strawberries delivered on taste, freshness and texture, value for money did then come into play. The premium price point of the M&S product was too high for some consumers whilst Tesco was considered much better value for money. Consumers were also surprised by the Co-op whose Elsanta strawberries proved a big hit, considerably more so than the Elsanta varieties on offer from Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. Consumers however were left disappointed by retailers Asda and Lidl whose berries were simply over ripe, resulting in a ‘mushy’, ‘soft’ texture and ‘watery’ taste.
Find out how each retailer performed – Click Here
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