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Produce View empowers tomato growers with information on British Tomato Conference

UK: The ins and outs of British tomato retail

Understanding the market and the retail sector is crucial in horticulture and the tomato industry is no exception. At the 2014 British Tomato Conference Mr Tim Mudge, commercial manager of Produce View, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Growers Association, who gave a presentation about the position of British tomatoes in the UK.

“When you have got knowledge, you have got some power. So what I am going to do today is to empower you with a little bit of knowledge about the tomato industry and the retail sector.”- Mudge said. ProduceView is recognised as the leading industry owned organization specializing in “in store” information.

ProduceView compared different retailers (premium ones like Waitrose, Marks & Spencer; the top4- Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Morrison’s and the discounters-;Aldi and Lidl) based on different criteria.

When comparing retail prices of loose or pre-packed tomatoes through the past 5 years, Produce View found that the top 4 supermarkets lowered the prices on average from £5.5p/kg to £4.84/kg. On the other hand premium and discount retailers increased the prices by an average of 13-33p/kg.

The average price of loose tomatoes each or packs, the trend is different. The top 4 are quite steady while the premium stores increased and discounters decreased their prices in the last 5 years.

In his presentation, Mudge also mentioned the number of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) found in each store. According to Produces View’s data, the number of SKUs in the top 4 dropped from nearly 92 per week five years ago to a little above 75 per week this year. However, the number of SKU’s per price band showed movement over the five year period from the £1.00 - £1.50 to the £1.50- £2.00 band. In contrast the premium retailers have increased from 25 to 37 average SKU’s per store. They also moved their price band up to over £2.00 - £2.50 this year. The discounters have also increased their range from 10 to nearly 13 per week while they continue to do what they do best, keeping as many SKU’s discounted below £1.00 as possible.

The number of SKUs per tier is also very diverse. In the standard and premium range each of the top 4 showed a lot of fluctuation. In the previous years, Sainsbury’s had the most SKUs in premium range, but this year Tesco has taken over. In value range most of the top 4 stay steady, and Tesco takes the lead here as well. The organic range was also variable, the overall number of SKUs has decreased in the past 5 years.

“When it comes to promotions, it is clear that they peaked to their highest level in 2013 and now the EDLP or price point seems to have taken over. This appears to be the same at the premium end of the market whilst the discounters are fairly static on promotion.”-said Mudge.

Finally, Mudge mentioned the origin of imported tomatoes as well, with the main exporting countries being Spain, Morocco, and the Netherlands.

For more information:
Market Intelligence Services Ltd
T: +44 (0)1507 353796