In publica commoda

Press release: Red is best: the most desirable tomato

No. 206 - 14.10.2019

Research team from Göttingen investigates buying-behaviour on the basis of various characteristics

Tomatoes are the most widely consumed vegetables across Germany. In the supermarket, a large number of different varieties are offered. Consumers, however, are usually unaware of the differences and may choose a variety that does not taste the best. A research team from the University of Göttingen examined tomato characteristics and consumer preferences when buying tomatoes. The results were published in the British Food Journal.


Researchers from the Department of Marketing for Food and Agricultural Products at the University of Göttingen surveyed around 1,000 consumers from Germany. The characteristics of colour, size, internal firmness, taste, skin, aroma, regionality, label and price were evaluated. According to the study, price and colour are the most important criteria for decision-making. Although the colour diversity of tomatoes in supermarkets has increased in recent years, red is the undisputed number one. Green, on the other hand, is rejected - presumably because buyers think that this means tomatoes are not ripe. Contrary to scientists' expectations, the size of the tomato played a secondary role. When it came to environmental concerns, the study participants rated plastic packaging as the most environmentally damaging, followed by airfreight, even though this does not play a major role in the case of tomatoes.


"Our results show that addressing specific target groups can help to increase consumer satisfaction when choosing tomatoes," says Kristin Jürkenbeck, PhD student and lead author of the study. "The current efforts to reduce the use of plastic packaging are an important step towards ensuring that consumers perceive products as more sustainable," says Professor Achim Spiller, Head of the Marketing Working Group for Food and Agricultural Products at the University of Göttingen.


Original publication: Jürkenbeck, K., Spiller, A. and Meyerding, S. (2019), "Tomato attributes and consumer preferences – a consumer segmentation approach", British Food Journal, Doi:


Kristin Jürkenbeck

University of Göttingen

Faculty of Agricultural Sciences

Department of Marketing for Food and Agricultural Products

Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5, 37073 Göttingen

Tel: 0551 3026245