CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR ASSIGNMENT
STRATEGY TO CHANGE PERCEPTION
Tomatoes are currently a commodity product. Calgene is trying to bring in differentiation in a commodity market through a differentiated product using genetic modification methods. Calgene intended to market the genetically modified tomatoes under the brand name of Mac Gregor Tomatoes to end consumers and the seeds under the FLAVR SAVR brand to the farmers. As the first bioengineered produce to clear regulatory hurdles, the Flavr-Savr required governmental agencies to adapt their current standards to a new realm of food and agriculture and to consider how genetically altered foods fit into the United States regulatory scheme. The FLAVR SAVR story reveals how difficult it can be to bring genetically engineered products to market, how objections with little or no scientific merit can influence the outcome, and how important public opinion is in determining commercial success.
Reasons for creating the genetically modified tomato:
The reasons for creating genetically modified tomatoes were because of the potential advantages of genetically modified foods.
Currently, vegetables and fruits are not commercially cultivated merely for the local market, but are intended for shipping over long distances to nation-wide and international markets.
Ripe fruits and vegetables have soft skins and can easily be damaged during handling and processing. They can also rot in the time taken to ship and get them to the shops.
In order to ensure easier handling and longer shelf-life, vegetables and fruits are harvested when still green and then artificially ripened with ethylene gas. The drawback of doing so is that the artificially ripened fruits and vegetables do not have the taste and flavour of their naturally ripened counterparts.
A SWOT analysis for the company Calgene along with FLAVR SAVR Tomatoes is given below:
TABLE 1: SWOT ANALYSIS FOR CALGENE AND FLAVR SAVR TOMATOES
The consumer perceptions regarding the various attributes of the existing tomatoes and the attributes that Calgene hoped to better using FLAVR SAVR tomatoes in order to gain a competitive advantage are discussed in the table given below.
TABLE 2: PERCEPTIONS - REGULAR TOMATOES VS FLAVR SAVR
ARTIFICIALLY RIPENED TOMATOES
FLAVR SAVR TOMATOES
Soften as they ripen, hence mushy
Firmness is measure of freshness. Softer tomatoes are expected to be rotten.
Redness measure of ripeness
TASTE AND FLAVOUR
Preserves original taste
People definitely want tastier tomatoes
Less fresh(more damage prone)
Fresher implies healthier and preservation of nutritional contents
Less Juicier(picked early)
Juicier tomatoes are tastier and more flavourful
Treated with ethylene
Free from treatment
Preference for natural and organic foods
30-100 percent premium
Trade-off: Will customers be ready to pay premium for better taste?
Artificially Ripened using ethylene
Naturally Ripened on the vine
Longer ripening gives more flavour
Low; only in California and Mid west
People will not be ready to wait in case of commoditized products
RESISTANCE TO DAMAGE
Easier to handle
More shelf life encourages bulk
Consumers are concerned and conservative about GM foods, not readily accepted
Eight stakeholder groups have been identified in this case and their individual perceptions are discussed in the figure below.
FIGURE 1: PERCEPTIONS OF STAKE HOLDERS
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