National tomatoes first? How chauvinism influences buying behaviour

What influence do politics, economy and culture have on our buying behaviour? In socially insecure times, people tend to turn inward. This also counts for EU member states. They increasingly focus on their national economy and therefore, promote local products. Consumers follow; an Englishman will prefer to buy British fruit and vegetables instead of the imported varieties.

The tomato in the European political climate
What does buying tomatoes have to do with European politics? Everything. Recent political shifts inside the EU – think of the Brexit or the rise of populist parties in several European countries – show a general trend in which countries increasingly turn inward. In socially turbulent times, one tends to focus on themselves more and on the national economy. Not when it involves (agricultural) subsidies though, as an EU membership does come in handy then. In this respect, one prefers to promote locally produced tomatoes instead of imported varieties.

The Netherlands as an international trading nation
As a traditional international trading nation, the Netherlands shows less chauvinist characteristics than its surrounding countries. The Netherlands is actually economically dependent on export in many sectors. Also, importing products is not seen as problematic. During purchasing and promotion, Dutch retailers will more likely focus on price rather than origin. And Dutch consumers do too. They will rather choose a cheaper tomato from Morocco than a Dutch (vine) tomato that is not on offer.

Increased focus on local products in turbulent times
Now that the European borders are back on the agenda – are we keeping these open or should we close them instead? – it influences the import and export. And it increases the general appreciation of national products. People are proud of what their country produces, whether these are tomatoes or cars. A Frenchmen prefers to choose French products and in Germany, local products are highly valued too. British supermarkets promote British strawberries as something special. This preference cannot solely be linked to the promotion of retailers. It is deeply rooted in the national culture. Local products bring a sense of trust. Something that is very valuable in these socially turbulent times.

For more information:
Wim van den Berg
+31 (0)6 57564346

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