Tired of dependable but boring, what fruit wants a marketing makeover?

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 26th November 2018

IS your personality lacking dynamism and excitement, is your company seen as convenient and dependable but boring by comparison to others, if so, then you are an apple.

That’s the unfortunate characterisation given to apples by consumers in comprehensive research commissioned by the Apple and Pear Australia Limited.

The growers wanted to know why people buy apples and pears in order to develop industry strategies to grow consumption. We’ll take a look at pears next week. This week it’s apples with apples.

To sharpen our understanding of these questions, we focused specifically on the levers growers have most influence on:

  • Price (or the ‘value’ equation)
  • Quality (What is quality to apple and pear consumers and how do we currently measure up to expectations.


Consistent quality was most important – firm feel, vibrant colour, round shape and crisp texture. “If an apple is not crisp, it is not a good apple.”

Consumers are reluctant to pick up a product that has anything on it that could be considered an imperfection, unless it was purchased from a farmers’ market.

The problem

There was also a sense that apples lack the dynamism and excitement of other ‘newer’ fruits namely berries, avocados, mangoes and pomegranates. That energy is driven by taste, versatility and sharp or salient health benefits (superfood claims). Apples were seen as convenient and dependable, but a bit boring by comparison.

The solution

Category dynamism for apples will be achieved through switching consumers to branded/premium apples which have established some of these ‘modern’ and ‘fun’ cues. It must be noted though that consumers can’t find the headspace to absorb benefits, new varieties and brands, or sharper health claims, if they have to spend time concerned about quality.

Most compelling finding

The most compelling finding is that consumers aren’t particularly price sensitive when it comes to apples. Apples are seen as money well spent due to the fact they last, they get eaten by everyone (no waste) and they are less expensive than more exotic fruits. As such, they are a staple purchase, hold their price well and show little price fluctuation.

Nothing will work if the quality is patchy

Overall, 62 per cent of respondents said that if price moved it would not affect their purchasing volume. But, this must be underpinned by dependable quality within their variety/brand repertoire. Nothing will work if the quality is patchy.

Other key findings were around loyalty to variety. Great quality in another commodity did not translate to a consumer switching. This shows that quality is the responsibility of all growers and not just those growing managed varieties. New snacking applications and new forms of consumption are peripheral to improving the quality of the product offer.

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