Expensive fruit isn’t always better

November 14, 2014

A study conducted by Professor Daniele Tirelli and published on RETAIL WATCH shows how the price of the fruit does not represent the quality.

By Antonello Vilardi

With the increase of the price, the main indicator relates to the quality of the fruit is not growing, but it is distributed randomly.

A graph made available to analysts distribution in Italy (see below),shows embarrassing clarity and denotes how specific merchandise prices are not representative of the quality (at least in theory).

At this point, it is natural to ask three questions… 

1. Do consumers make rational choices? 

2. What are the criteria by which the distribution management makes positioning  decisions with regard to the quality and price?

3. What moves management on prices and promotions?

A focus on fruit is particularly illustrative.

Fruit is a crucial aspect for the image of the supermarkets, has an objective to prove that quality can not be altered by cooking or seasoning, and is subject to an immediate and final judgment on the part of consumers.

Microeconomics official speculates that the price reflects a summary of all the information that can be deduced about a product. In turn, the price depends on supply and demand in the market movement, as a result of decisions made by rational economic agents.

It follows that consumers, on the demand side, and distributors, supply-side decisions, are logical, interpretable, predictable, measurable and representable.

Such a hypothesis is destabilized by the graph in question!

On the two axes are set prices for various types of fruits and their sugar content, expressed in degrees Brix.

It turns out that there is no correlation, but dominates the randomness...

The degrees Brix used as an index of the quality of the fruit. The BRIX is directly proportional to the sweetness, and this feature is closely related to organoleptic pleasantness.

Of course, to identify clearly, the quality of the fruit should be that the sweetness was balanced by acidity also, from pulp consistency, integrity of the fruit, maturity, caliber, state of preservation, and finally to look and color.

These, however, are subjective data, which would complicate prohibitive reasoning, without adding anything further and increasing the fortuity of representation.

The Brix have the character to be an objective indicator to highlight the quality of the fruit and measure the level of satisfaction that a consumer can draw from it.

Ultimately, this is a prime example of what can be illusory, with reference to the fruit, and expect to be able to control the chain that links neatly price, quality and customer satisfaction.