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Group Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Title: An economic evaluation of grade and size standards for mature green tomatoes
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026819/00001
 Material Information
Title: An economic evaluation of grade and size standards for mature green tomatoes
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 28 p. : ill., map ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Godwin, Marshall R ( Marshall Reid ), 1922-
Manley, William T ( William Tanner ), 1929-
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1963
Copyright Date: 1963
 Subjects
Subject: Tomatoes -- Grading   ( lcsh )
Tomatoes -- Standards   ( lcsh )
Tomatoes -- Marketing   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: Marshall R. Godwin, William T. Manley.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "In cooperation with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026819
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltuf - AEN9798
oclc - 18352870
alephbibnum - 000929034

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HISTORIC NOTE



The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida





Bulletin 652 March 1963


an economic evaluation
of grade & size standards
for mature green tomatoes
Marshall R. Godwin William T. Manley
RESH
MATOES













University of Florida
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS
J. R. Beckenbach, Director Gainesville, Florida
t" in cooperation with the U. S. Department of Agriculture






















CONTENTS

Page


INTRODUCTION -...-..-- .... ........ ............ .8. .... ...


METHOD OF APPROACH .-..-.....-------- .. ......-..........--------------.. 4


TOTAL SALES OF TOMATOES .......-..--------.......--......---- -......--- ........... 8


A COMPARISON OF CUSTOMER PURCHASE RATES .-....................-.........--- .... 12


THE ABILITY OF CONSUMERS TO DISCRIMINATE AMONG GRADE

AND SIZE CATEGORIES .......-.......... ..------ ......----- --.. ....... ........ 13


EFFECTS OF GRADE AND SIZE ON PURCHASE RATES ..........................-......... 21


EVALUATION .--... ......----- -- ----------.. -..-.....-- ..-- ..--..------- -- .............. 26
















Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations
in cooperation with
Marketing Economics Division
Economic Research Service
United States Department of Agriculture











AN ECONOMIC EVALUATION OF GRADE
AND SIZE STANDARDS FOR MATURE
GREEN TOMATOES

MARSHALL R. GODWIN AND WILLIAM T. MANLEY1

INTRODUCTION
The grades and standards under which the Florida mature
green tomato crop is marketed serve a dual purpose. They
provide a means of relatively quick and concise communication
between the Florida seller and the terminal market buyer regard-
ing the physical attributes of the product and the manner in
which it is packed, and they serve as the basis for separating
the crop into categories reflecting the preference patterns of
consumers.
In relation to most fresh vegetable products, a rather elabor-
ate set of grades and standards is employed in the marketing of
mature green tomatoes. These standards take into account the
considerations that are of primary importance from a trading
standpoint as well as the physical attributes that have signifi-
cance to the consumer. However, the dynamic nature of the in-
dustry calls for a continual examination and modification of
these grades and standards to accommodate the changes of the
times. In the past some modifications have been made in the
standards for tomatoes to relieve the pressures created by insti-
tutional and technological changes in the market. In general, the
consumer side of the grade and standard question has received
much less attention than have operational considerations. This
is understandable, because the linkage between the industry and
the consumer is a comparatively remote one. Between the two
there is a maze of repackers, wholesalers, chain store operators,
and others who, in effect, serve as the spokesmen for the con-
sumer. Preoccupation with operational problems together with
the lack of direct access to the consumer is sufficient to raise
some question as to the completeness of the information on con-
sumer desires that is funneled back to the producing area by
distribution agencies.

1Marketing Economist, Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations; As-
sistant Agricultural Economist, Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations,
and Agricultural Economist, U. S. Department of Agriculture.








4 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

The efficacy with which perceptible quality differences to the
consumer are reflected in the standards for fresh tomatoes is a
consideration which the Florida tomato industry can ill afford to
overlook. In both the short and the long run, both individual
firms and the industry as a whole must take into account the
effects of their anticipated actions on the ultimate consumer.
Adequate information about the economic significance of quality
to the consumer will do much to facilitate the decision-making
process within the industry, and can make a material contribu-
tion to the efficiency and the accuracy with which adjustments
are made.
The orientation of this study is strictly from the standpoint
of consumers. It is based on the assumption that they have a
relevant point of view regarding the grades and sizes currently
employed in marketing the Florida mature green tomato crop.
The study objective was to examine preference patterns within
the complex of grades and sizes currently employed in Florida
marketing operations to the end of determining the degree to
which the standards reflect discernible differences to consumers.2

METHOD OF APPROACH
The consumer concept of quality in Florida tomatoes is a
subjective and highly complex affair. In general, the image of
quality which the consumer holds stems from some mixture of
previous use experience, intuition, and association. A part of
the quality concept may be real in the sense that it is based on
actual experience, while the other part may be of an imaginary
nature in that it stems from opinions of others, inferences drawn
from other products, or lack of adequate information.
It is difficult to separate the real and the imaginary in the
quality concept. Moreover, such efforts are unnecessary under
most circumstances. Both are of equal validity from the stand-
point of practical application, even though the relative impor-
tance of each may differ substantially. Consequently, this study
was designed to explore the extent to which consumers dif-
ferentiate between tomatoes of varying grade and size charac-
teristics without attempting to identify the reasons involved.
In other words, the choice was to concentrate on how consumers

SA partial presentation of the results of this study was published as
Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations Journal Series article 1178. Fig-
ure 4 and parts of Figures 5 and 8 are reproduced here.









Economic Evaluation for Mature Green Tomatoes 5

react to quality differences rather than on why they behave in
a particular fashion. When viewed from the standpoint of the
applicability of the results, the choice seems a reasonable one.
The basic approach employed in the study consisted of the
creation of test situations in retail food stores where the con-
sumer, without the restraint of prices and in the absence of
undue promotional influences, could exercise a preference for
different quality characteristics in tomatoes. This was ac-
complished by using special matched-lot displaying techniques.
The displays were designed to reflect distinct and predetermined
differences in quality and size.
Since resource limitations precluded the possibility of test-
ing all grade-size combinations of mature green tomatoes, the
test was confined to those of greatest interest and applicability
in the industry. A total of 11 grade-size combinations was in-
cluded in the study (Table 1). The combinations tested reflect

TABLE 1.-COMBINATIONS TESTED IN THE STUDY OF CONSUMER PREFERENCE
FOR GRADES AND SIZES OF FLORIDA TOMATOES.
Size
Grade
5x6 6x6 6x7 7x7 7x8

U. S. 1 X X* X X
U. S. 2 X X X X
U. S. 3 X X X X

Matched with all other grade and size combinations in each test situation.

a certain degree of preoccupation with the lower grades and
smaller sizes of tomatoes. This is because a major area of
decision-making within the industry relates to the question
of what constitutes marginal quality in tomatoes under various
supply and demand situations.
Purchase patterns of consumers under the various test situa-
tions with which they were confronted served as the primary
source of analytical data. In each of the matched-lot test situa-
tions, one component of the display consisted of U. S. No. 1 size
6 x 7 tomatoes while the other was systematically changed to
represent other size-quality combinations. This arrangement
assured that customers would always have access to tomatoes
generally regarded as satisfactory from a quality standpoint.
Preferences of consumers were obtained through the measure-







6 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

meant of differences in the sales of the varied grade-size combina-
tions in relation to the constant component of each display. A
typical display arrangement employed in the retailing tests is
shown in Fig. 1. In order to obviate the possibility that dif-
ferences in firmness or color might affect the choice of customers,
all of the tomatoes included in the test were firm ripe and full
red in color. Throughout the study, the price was maintained
at 29 cents per pound for both display components. Customers
could buy from either, and it is assumed that their choice indi-
cated their feelings regarding quality attributes.























Fig. 1.-Display technique used in the study. In this instance, U. S. No.
3 size 5 x 6 tomatoes were paired with U. S. No. 1 size 6 x 7 tomatoes.

To generate data that would meet the requisites for statistical
analysis, the test situations were introduced into retail stores in
accord with a specially predetermined experimental design (Table
2). The tests required 11 retail food stores and were conducted
over a period of two and a half weeks. The study was begun
on May 13 and terminated on May 28, 1960. The field work was
timed to fall within the period of heavy shipment and consump-
tion of Florida mature green tomatoes.









TABLE 2.-EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN EMPLOYED IN THE STUDY OF CONSUMER PREFERENCE FOR GRADES AND
SIZES OF FLORIDA TOMATOES.

Store Period*
Number I II III IV V

- -- - --Quality marketed in combination with U. S. No. 1 size 6 x 7 tomatoes - - -
1 US-1 (7 x 8) US-3 (7 x 7) US-2 (7 x 7) US-1 (7 x 7) US-2 (6 x 7)
2 US-3 (7 x 7) US-2 (5 x 6) US-3 (6 x 7) US-2 (6 x 7) US-1 (5 x 6) -
3 US-1 (7 x 7) US-1 (5 x 6) US-3 (6 x 6) US-3 (6 x 7) US-2 (7 x 7)
4 US-3 (6 x 6) US-3 (6 x 7) US-3 (5 x 6) US-1 (7 x 8) US-3 (7 x 7) 1
5 US-3 (6 x 7) US-2 (6 x 6) US-1 (7 x 7) US-2 (5 x 6) US-1 (7 x 8)
6 US-2 (6 x 6) US-3 (5 x 6) US-1 (5 x 6) US-3 (7 x 7) US-1 (7 x 7)
7 US-2 (5 x 6) US-3 (6 x 6) US-3 (7 x 7) US-2 (7 x 7) US-2 (6 x 6) (
8 US-1 (5 x 6) US-2 (6 x 7) US-1 (7 x 8) US-2 (6 x 6) US-3 (6 x 6)
9 US-3 (5 x 6) US-1 (7 x 7) US-2 (6 x 7) US-3 (6 x 6) US-2 (5 x 6)
10 US-2 (6 x 7) US-2 (7 x 7) US-2 (6 x 6) US-3 (5 x 6) US-3 (6 x 7)
11 US-2 (7 x 7) US-1 (7 x 8) US-2 (5 x 6) US-1 (5 x 6) US-3 (5 x 6)

Each period was of one-half week duration, with Monday through Thuisday defined as the first half of the week and Friday and Saturday as the (
second half. c

-1








8 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

The data generating technique employed in the study was
designed to reckon fully with the principal sources of variation
with which the sales of tomatoes might be associated.3
Within some limits, the selection of locale for conducting stud-
ies of this type is a matter of judgment. It was desirable to
select a market area typifying the major industrial areas of the
northeast and midwest since these are the sections of the country
where the largest share of the Florida mature green tomato
crop is consumed. The market area of Dayton, Ohio, was selected
as meeting the requisites of representativeness. This area is
comprised of a population which reflects rather fully differences
among groups with respect to race, religion, and ethnic back-
ground. The test stores were dispersed throughout the Dayton
market area in such a fashion as to obtain reactions from the
widest possible range of customers. The location of the test
stores within the Dayton market area is shown in Fig. 2.
The retail stores used would be considered large by most
standards. The average weekly store traffic in all of the stores
amounted to 91,414 customers. Although some customers shop
more frequently than once a week, it is apparent that the study
results reflect the reaction of many thousands of individual
families.
TOTAL SALES OF TOMATOES
During the course of the study 22,440 pounds of tomatoes
were purchased by customers in the 11 test stores (Table 3). The
sales rate on a weekly basis amounted to about 9,000 pounds, or
approximately 800 pounds per store. Slightly more than half
of the quantity sold from the test displays consisted of the size
6 x 7 U. S. No. 1 tomatoes used as the constant component. The
remainder of the total purchases were distributed among the

"The statistical model employed was:
Yijk M + Ti + Sj + P + eijk
where:
Yijk = pounds of tomatoes purchased per 100 customers
of treatment i in store j, period k
M = general constant
Ti = effect of treatment i (i = 1, .., 11)
Sj = effect of store j (j 1, ..., 11)
Pk = effect of period k (k = 1, .. ., 5)
ejk = random disturbance









Economic Evaluation for Mature Green Tomatoes 9
























OAK-
WOOD A










A Store locations


Fig. 2.-Location within the Dayton market area of the test stores em-
ployed in the study of customer preferences for quality attributes in
tomatoes.


TABLE 3.-TOTAL SALES OF TOMATOES IN EACH GRADE-SIZE CATEGORY.


Grade Size Total
5x6 6x6 6x7 7x7 7x8 All Sizes

- - - Pounds - - - -

U. S. No. 1 2,125 12,369 908 453 15,855
U. S. No. 2 1,234 1,417 586 610 3,847
U. S. No. 3 1,047 898 535 258 2,738

Total all grades 4,406 2,315 13,490 1,776 453 22,440








10 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

11 combinations of grade and size in widely varying amounts.
Substantial differences in total sales may be noted between the
sales of grades and sizes in cases where an equal number of
categories permit comparisons. Sales of the four size categories
tested in the No. 2 grade were about 1,100 pounds greater than
those of the same sizes in the No. 3 grade. Sales of size 5 x 6
tomatoes in all three grades were more than twice the sales of
size 7 x 7 tomatoes in all grades. Total purchases of size 6 x 7
tomatoes from the two lower grades were only half as large as
purchases of comparable grades of size 6 x 6 tomatoes.
Another manner of viewing the study results is in terms of
the comparative sales of each grade-size category in relation to
the No. 1 6 x 7 tomatoes that were used as the constant com-
ponent of the displays (Fig. 3).
Sales of all grades of size 5 x 6 tomatoes exceeded sales of
the 6 x 7 No. 1 tomatoes that served as their counterpart in the
displays. It is apparent also that there was substantial variation
in the quantity of size 5 x 6 tomatoes sold at each grade level.
Sales of the No. 3 grade in this size category were slightly less
than half of the sales of the No. 1 grade. However, sales of the
No. 2 grade were only slightly above those of the No. 3 grade.
The counterpart displays of 6 x 7 No. 1 tomatoes remained
relatively constant at between 800 and 900 pounds, even though
the sales of the 5 x 6 size varied substantially with differences
in quality levels.
Aggregate sales from the 6 x 6 No. 2 displays were about
200 pounds more than the sales of this same grade in the next
larger size and about 350 pounds more than the counterpart
display consisting of tomatoes one size smaller but one grade
higher. Total sales dropped sharply in the 6 x 7 displays of the
two lower grades and were substantially less than those from
the displays of 6 x 7 No. 1 tomatoes with which they were sold
in direct competition.
Total sales from the No. 1 size 7 x 7 displays were 351 pounds
less than sales of the size 6 x 7 tomatoes of the same grade. Re-
ductions in grade for the 7 x 7 size brought rather sharp declines
in total sales. The sales volume of 258 pounds for the No. 3
grade of this size represented only one-fifth of the sales of 6 x 7
No. 1 tomatoes. Sales of 7 x 8 tomatoes amounted to 453 pounds,
or about one-third of the sales of tomatoes of the 6 x 7 No. 1 size.









Economic Evaluation for Mature Green Tomatoes 11

While Fig. 3 provides only a gross view of the matter, com-
parisons based on the aggregate sales of tomatoes suggest that,
over the range of qualities and sizes tested, consumers respond
to differences in the physical appearance of tomatoes. Moreover,
it emphasizes the point that a substantial volume of tomatoes
was sold in each grade-size category tested.



Size 5 x 6 Size 6 x 7 US-1 Grade








"Size 6 x 7 Size 6 x 7 US-1 Grade









U.S. No. I Grade
U.S. No. 2 Grade

Size 7 x 7 Size 6 x 7 US- Grade
Size 7 x 7 Size 6 x 7 US-1 Grade












2000 1500 1000 500 0 500 1000 1500
Pounds

Fig. 3.-Comparative sales of size 6 x 7 US-1 grade tomatoes and those
of other grade-size combinations tested.








12 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

A COMPARISON OF CUSTOMER PURCHASE RATES

In the analytical procedure it was found desirable to effect
a transformation of the aggregate sales data into a form that
would be more meaningful and permit a wider application of the
study results. Consequently, the basic sales data were converted
into purchase rates for each 100 customers passing through the
stores during the periods when each test situation was in effect.
This transformation served as a means of making needed adjust-
ments in total purchases to account for size variations among
stores in which the tests were conducted. Using customer pur-
chase rates also reduces the results to a common denominator
that will facilitate the general application of the findings to other
retailing situations.
The customer purchase rate for each grade and size combi-
nation is shown in Fig. 4. The study results indicate that some
grades and sizes of Florida tomatoes are much preferred over
others. There was a distinct preference for the larger sizes of
tomatoes over the smaller ones. Within a given size category,
customer purchase rates appear to vary directly with the grade.
The most popular grade-size combination of tomatoes included
in the test was the U. S. No. 1 size 5 x 6. The purchase rate for
this quality level was 9.7 pounds per 100 customers, which was
well above the rate for any other type of tomatoes. The 5 x 6
tomatoes in the No. 2 grade were purchased at a rate of 7.3
pounds per 100 customers. The third highest sales rate was
obtained for the size 6 x 6 tomatoes of the No. 2 grade. Pur-
chases of this type were 1.1 pounds per 100 customers less than
the purchase rates of this same grade in the next larger size, and
they were 0.6 pound per 100 customers greater than U. S. No. 3
size 5 x 6 tomatoes.
The sales rates for all other grade-size combinations were
below 5 pounds per 100 customers. Customers bought about
equal quantities of size 6 x 6 No. 3 and size 7 x 7 No. 1 tomatoes.
This same situation held for the 6 x 7 No. 2 and the 7 x 8 No. 1
categories. Further, there was only a slight difference between
the 6 x 7 No. 3 and the size 7 x 7 No. 2 tomatoes.









Economic Evaluation for Mature Green Tomatoes 13

THE ABILITY OF CONSUMERS TO DISCRIMINATE AMONG
GRADE AND SIZE CATEGORIES

The apparent consistency with which the sales of tomatoes
per 100 customers declined as successively lower grades were
introduced in the test situations, and the further consistency
with which sales varied directly with size within each grade
category is, in some respects, misleading (see Fig. 4). While the
relationships are valid, the differences based on the compari-
son of one grade-size category with another were not always
large enough to be statistically significant. It is important that,
when consideration is given to a particular grade-size combina-
tion and to those that are somewhat similar to it with respect
to either grade or size, there are many instances where the dif-


Pounds purchased
per 100 customers
10


U.S. No. I Grade
U.S. No. 2 Grade
8
U.S. No. 3 Grade

7

6


5

4,


3




1


5x6 6x6 6x7 7x7 7x8
Size
Fig. 4.-Customer purchase rates for tomatoes of varying
grade and size characteristics.








14 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

ferences in the sales rates were comparatively small. Conse-
quently, the apparent consistent relationship between grade and
size and the purchase rates of customers is somewhat less sharp
than an initial examination of Fig. 4 would suggest. In many
cases the differences in purchase rates between grade-size cate-
gories were not large enough to warrant the conclusion that con-
sumers did distinguish one from the other.
The analytical procedure employed allowed a statistical com-
parison of the sales rates for any specific grade-size category
with all others.4 These comparisons reveal the instances where
consumers regarded tomatoes of a particular grade and size as
superior or inferior to other types, and the instances in which
they failed to differentiate between grade-size categories. The
results of these tests are shown graphically in Figs. 5 through 9.
Under most circumstances, customers did not distinguish be-
tween tomatoes that were not greatly different with respect to
grade or size, or some combination of grade and size. The re-
sults indicate that consumers are somewhat more conscious of
quality and size differences when they are making comparisons
between large tomatoes than is the case when they choose be-
tween tomatoes that are at the lower end of the size range. Since
this tendency is of considerable import to the Florida tomato
industry, the behavior pattern of customers in these respects
will be examined in some detail.
Out of the 11 categories of tomatoes tested, the only one
which consumers regarded as distinctly different and superior
to all others was the 5 x 6 No. 1 (Fig. 5). The discriminatory
powers of the consumers became somewhat less sharp when they
compared the No. 2 grade of this size with all other categories.
While the No. 2 tomatoes of the 5 x 6 size were regarded as less
desirable than those of the same size but one grade higher, they
were not regarded as superior to the 5 x 6 size in the No. 3 grade.
Further, consumers did not think the 5 x 6 No. 2 tomatoes were
any better than the next smaller size of the same grade. All
combinations below the 6 x 6 size were regarded as inferior to
the 5 x 6 No. 2, and it wa also considered superior to the 6 x 6
No. 3.
Moving to the No. 3 grade of the 5 x 6 size, it becomes ap-
parent that consumers regard a number of other types of toma-

The "t" test developed by Student was used as a criterion for testing
whether one grade-size category differed from another.









Economic Evaluation for Mature Green Tomatoes 15




Size

Grade 5x6 6x6 6x7 7x7 7x8

U.S. No. I Nt . Nt .
tested tested :::::: :: :::::::: ::

Not
U.S. No 2 ::::: : ::::: :: : : :: ::: : :::::::::: ::::: :::::::::: tested

U.S. No. 3 Not
tested


Using the 5 x 6 No. I as the basis for comparison


Size

Grade 5x6 6x6 6 x 7 7x7 x 8

U.S. No. I


U.S. No. 2 t Nted
tested t tested

U.S. No. 3 t sted







Grade 5x6 x6 6x7 7x7 7x8






sng the No as the asi o coari
U.S. No. 3


UR.S. No. ....











More acceptable E qually acceptable Less acceptable



Fig. 5.-Ability of customers to discriminate between size 5 x 6
tomatoes and other grade-size categories.
tomatoes and other grade-size categories.








16 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

toes as equally acceptable. Aside from their indifference between
the No. 2 and No. 3 grades of this size, they regarded both the
second and third grade levels of the size 6 x 6 tomatoes as being
equally acceptable as the 5 x 6 No. 3. Also, they regarded the
No. 1 size 7 x 7 tomatoes as about equal to the largest size of
the No. 3 grade.
In the comparison of the 6 x 6 sizes of the No. 2 and No. 3
grades with all other categories it is again evident that there are
several grade-size combinations which consumers think are equal-
ly as acceptable as each of these (Fig. 6). It has been established
that the No. 2 size 6 x 6 tomato was regarded as about the same
as either the No. 2 or No. 3 grade of the next larger size. Con-
sumers also failed to differentiate between the 6 x 6 No. 2 and
the same size at a lower grade level, and they thought that toma-
toes of this type were comparable in quality to the 7 x 7 size of
the No. 1 grade. The 7 x 8 size in the No. 1 grade and all of the
grade-size combinations in the No. 2 and No. 3 grades below
size 6 x 6 were regarded by consumers as inferior to the 6 x 6
No. 2.
A larger assortment of tomatoes was comparable to the 6 x 6
tomatoes of the No. 3 grade. In fact, grade-size combinations
running from the very largest to the smallest tomatoes involved
in the tests were considered equal to the 6 x 6 No. 3. There was
no distinction made between the 6 x 6 No. 3 and the 5 x 6 No. 3,
nor did consumers think that it was better or worse than the
7 x 8 No. 1. With the exception of the very largest size tested,
the 6 x 6 No. 3 was regarded as equal to all sizes of the No. 2
grade. The only tomatoes regarded as inferior to the 6 x 6 No. 3
were the two smaller sizes at the same grade level.
A comparison of 6 x 7 No. 2 tomatoes with the other 10 types
revealed that all sizes below this designation were equally ac-
ceptable to the consumer, and that this was true regardless of
the grade involved (Fig. 7). The 6 x 6 size of the lower grade
was also regarded by consumers as equal. However, all of the
5 x 6 sizes regardless of grade were regarded as superior to the
6 x 7 No. 2. Furthermore, consumers exhibited a distinct pref-
erence for tomatoes of the same grade but one size larger.
It appears that consumers thought that all tomatoes of
larger size were superior to the 6 x 7 No. 3 tomatoes, regardless
of their grade. Additionally, consumers regarded the 7 x 7 size
in the No. 1 grade as a different and better product. The remain-









Economic Evaluation for Mature Green Tomatoes 17

ing four grade-size combinations were regarded as equally ac-
ceptable. None of the types tested were inferior to the 6 x 7
No. 3.


Size
Grade 5 x6 6x 6 6 x 7 7 x7 7 x 8

Not Not
U.S. No. I tested tested

Not


Not
U.S. No. 3 tested

Using the 6 x 6 No. 2 as the basis for comparison



Size

Grade 5x6 6x6 6x 77x7 7x8











tomatoes and other grade-size categories.
U.S. No. e e t tt t
Soto t ot tt t oe ted

U.S. No. 3 tee s st t s ee e s es

Using the 6 x 6 No. 3 as the basis for comparison






More acceptable Equally acceptable r.Less acceptable


Fig. 6.-Ability of customers to discriminate between size 6 x 6
tomatoes and other grade-size categories.

In the comparison of sizes larger than 6 x 7 with the other
grade-size combinations, it can be noted that, with one exception
(5 x 6 No. 1), three basic distinctions were made. Consumers
thought that certain types of tomatoes were superior to the one
serving as the basis for comparison, they felt that certain other








18 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

types were equally as acceptable, and they regarded still others
as inferior. For the 6 x 7 sizes at the second and third grade
levels, however, one of these distinctions disappeared. Consum-
ers thought that certain grades and sizes were superior to these
two, but they did not think that any were inferior to them. All
lower grade and smaller size combinations were considered equal
to them from a quality standpoint.



Size
Grade 5x6 6 x 6 x 7 7 x 7 7 x 8

Not Not
U.S. No. I tested tested

U.S. No. 2 tte

U.S. No. 3 No
tested

Using the 6 x 7 No. 2 as the basis for comparison



Size
Grade 5x6 6x6 6x7 7x7 7x8

U.S. No. ot t
U.S. No. I tested tested

U.S. No. 2


U.S. No. 3 tested

Using the 6 x 7 No. 3 as the basis for comparison






I More acceptable Equally acceptable LiLess acceptable



Fig. 7.-Ability of customers to discriminate between size 6 x 7
tomatoes and other grade-size categories.










Economic Evaluation for Mature Green Tomatoes 19




Size

Grade 5x6 6x6 6 x 7 7 x 7 7x8

U.S. No. 1 tested tested


U.S. No. 2 tested

:::: ::::: ::::::::::: No t
U.S. No. 3 N
tested

Using the 7 x 7 No. I as the basis for comparison


Size

Grade 5x6 6x6 6x7 7x7 7x8




U.S. No. 2 Not
tested

U.S. No. 3 tested

Using the 7 x 7 No. 2 as the basis for comparison


Size

Grade of customers to de b n 7 x 8



U.S. No. Another grade-size categories. Not
tested tested

U.S. No. 2 Not
tested

U.S. No. 3 Not
tested

Using the 7 x 7 No. 3 as the basis for comparison




More acceptable n Equally acceptable lLess acceptable



Fig. 8.-Ability of customers to discriminate between size 7 x 7
tomatoes and other grade-size categories.








20 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

Comparisons based on the three grade levels of the 7 x 7 size
reveal a further widening of the indifference zone of the consum-
er (Fig. 8). When the No. 1 tomatoes of this size were com-
pared with all others, there were six categories that consumers
regarded as equally acceptable. These ranged from the smallest
No. 1 tomatoes through the middle of the size range for the No.
2 grade, and included the two largest sizes of the No. 3 grade.
The 5 x 6 size in both the No. 1 and the No. 2 grades was regarded
as superior by consumers. The 7 x 7 No. 1 was better than the
6 x 7 or the 7 x 7 size of the No. 3 grade.
Consumers found no tomatoes inferior to the 7 x 7 No. 2 grade,
but they did again regard a rather wide assortment of grade-size
combinations as equally acceptable. They felt that the 5 x 6 sizes
at all grade levels were superior, and that the 6 x 6 size at the
same grade level was also a better quality tomato.
The 7 x 7 No. 3 tomato was less desirable than any grade-size
combination larger than a 6 x 7. The 7 x 7 No. 1 tomato was also
regarded as a superior product by the consumers.
The testing procedure allowed the consideration of only one
grade level for the smallest size of tomato normally shipped from
Florida-the 7 x 8. When the No. 1 grade of this size was com-
pared with all others, consumers demonstrated an indifference
running across all three grade levels and including all except the
very largest and best tomatoes (Fig. 9). All of the 5 x 6 sizes


Size
Grade 5x6 6x6 6x7 7x7 7x8

U.S. No. Not Not
tested tested

U.S. No. 2

U.S. No. 3 tested

Using the 7 x 8 No. 1 as the basis for comparison


More acceptable KEqually acceptable [:Less acceptable


Fig. 9.-Ability of customers to discriminate between size 7 x 8
tomatoes and other grade-size categories.








Economic Evaluation for Mature Green Tomatoes 21

were regarded as better than the 7 x 8 No. 1, as well as the 6 x 6
in the No. 2 grade. However, all other grade-size combinations
were equally acceptable.
In the preceding discussion an examination was made of the
extent to which consumers discriminated between tomatoes of
varying grade and size characteristics and how their ability to
discriminate changed as they moved from a consideration of the
best grades and largest sizes to the lower grades and smaller sizes.
A re-examination of Figs. 5 through 9 in this context will reveal
a definite change in the behavior pattern over the full range of
grades and sizes with which consumers were confronted. The
results shown in these figures suggest that consumers are fairly
cognizant of the differences in the grade and size characteristics
of tomatoes when they are comparing tomatoes of the larger
sizes, especially if the tomatoes they are comparing are in either
of the two top grades. However, their ability or inclination to
differentiate diminishes appreciably when they are considering
tomatoes below the midpoint of the size range. On the lower side
of the quality and size scale, they failed to distinguish between
tomatoes varying rather substantially in size or grade or some
combination of size and grade. For most of the smaller sizes,
they regarded a number of types of tomatoes as being equally
acceptable.
While the perceptions of quality differences on the part of
consumers were somewhat keener for the larger sizes of toma-
toes, it is relevant that in only one unique case did consumers
regard a particular grade-size combination as distinctly different
from all others. With the exception of the No. 1 size 5 x 6 toma-
toes, customers regarded several grade-size combinations as equal-
ly acceptable. For the No. 2 size 5 x 6 tomatoes customers found
two other grade-size categories to be equally acceptable. Four
categories were regarded satisfactory substitutes for the 5 x 6
No. 3 and for the 6 x 6 size in the No. 2 grade.

EFFECTS OF GRADE AND SIZE ON PURCHASE RATES
In the development of this study, the determination of the
ability of consumers to differentiate between tomatoes varying
with respect to some combination of grade and size character-
istics was the primary objective. However, the possibilities of
using the retailing tests as a means of examining the effects of
grade and size on customer purchase rates also were taken into









22 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

account. With this latter objective in mind, the tests were delib-
erately designed so that data would be obtained for two sizes at
all three levels of grade and for two grades over a continuous
range of four sizes (see Table 1).
To provide for the possibility that consumers might react
differently to grade changes when they were confronted with
small sizes than when they were confronted with large ones, the
5 x 6 and the 7 x 7 sizes were selected to represent each end of
the size range. Using the same logic, the tests were arranged
so that forf the No. 2 and No. 3 grades, data would be obtained
on all sizes larger than 7 x 8. The effect of grade on the pur-
chase rates is shown in Fig. 10. For the 5 x 6 size, the customer
purchase rate for the No. 1 grade was almost twice the purchase
rate for the No. 3 grade. In the case of the 7 x 7 size, customers
responded to changes in the grade level in almost precisely the

Pounds purchased
per 100 customers





8 Size 5 x 6






5

4

3 -, Size 7 x 7



I -
2- -- ------------i----------r -


Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3
Fig. 10.-The effects of grade on customer purchase rates of
Florida tomatoes.









Economic Evaluation for Mature Green Tomatoes 23

same fashion. The purchase rate from the No. 3 grade was
slightly less than half of the purchase rate from the No. 1 grade.
For all grade levels the purchase rates for the smaller of the
two sizes remained about five pounds per 100 customers below
that for the larger size.

Pounds purchased
per 100 customers








Grade 2











2-1

-


0
5x6 6x6 6x7 7x7
Size
Fig. 11.-The effects of size on customer purchase rates of
Florida tomatoes.

The effects of size upon the rate at which customers pur-
chased tomatoes at the No. 2 and No. 3 grade levels are shown
in Fig. 11. The manner in which customers responded to changes
in sizes for each grade level was highly similar. For the No.
2 tomatoes, purchases increased from 2.36 pounds per 100 cus-
tomers for the 7 x 7 size to 7.30 pounds for the 5 x 6 size. Similar
volume changes were experienced with the No. 3 tomatoes. Pur-
chase rates rose from 1.43 for the 7 x 7 size to 5.90 pounds per








24 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

100 customers for the 5 x 6 size. For both grades, the largest
sales effect was obtained between the 6 x 6 and the 6 x 7 sizes.
At each grade level, the purchase rate for the 6 x 6 size was about
3.5 pounds per 100 customers above that for the 6 x 7 size.
The fact that there were comparatively constant differences
in customer purchase rates both between sizes when comparisons
were made across grades and between grades when comparisons
were made across sizes raises the question of the combined ef-
fects of grade and size upon the quantity of tomatoes which con-
sumers will buy. An indication of the nature of these combined
effects can be obtained from an examination of the changes in
purchase rates moving diagonally across grade and size. Three
sets of diagonal comparisons were available for this purpose (see
Table 1). A sequence of observations was obtained on grade-size
combinations from the size 6 x 7 No. 3 grade upward to the 5 x 6
No. 1 grade. Comparisons in the opposite direction were pos-
sible for the sequence of observations running from the 6 x 6
No. 3 to the 7 x 7 No. 1, and from the 6 x 7 No. 3 to the 7 x 8
No. 1.
Substantial sales gains were experienced as a result of mov-
ing upward on both the grade and the size scale (Fig. 12). The
quantity of tomatoes purchased per 100 customers increased 4.45
pounds when the tomatoes with which they were confronted
were changed from a 6 x 7 size of the lowest grade to the 6 x 6
size of the No. 2 grade. Moving from the latter size to the 5 x 6
No. 1 tomato brought an additional increase in the purchase rate
of 3.45 pounds per 100 customers. Clearly, these effects indicate
that in the upper end of the size scale, customers respond readily
to increases in both grade and size in tomatoes. Conversely, it
must be remembered that downward adjustments in quality levels
involving both the lowering of the grade level and a decline in the
size of tomatoes will bring equally precipitous declines in the
rate at which customers purchase this product.
Movement from the larger sizes in the lowest grade category
to the smaller sizes of the No. 1 grade produced no consistent
or significant changes in customer purchase rates. Changes in
sales rates from the 6 x 6 or 6 x 7 No. 3 upward in grade but
downward in size to the 7 x 7 and 7 x 8 sizes of the No. 1 grade,
respectively, were inconsistent in a behavioral sense. Under no
circumstances were the changes in sales from one category to
another statistically significant. This fact supports the earlier








Pounds purchased Pounds purchased
per 100 customers per 100 customers

0 5x6 0-
0 10 0


9- 9.


8 8


7- 7-
6x6
6. 6 -


5' 5 6x6 7x7
\ -

-Y
'6 x 7,
3 3 -

2 2 7 x 8
6x7 6x7



0- \ 3

0 ~^ i0 7
Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 3 Grade 2 Grade 1

Fig. 12.-The combined effects of grade and size on customer purchase rates of Florida tomatoes.








26 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

conclusion that within the lower size ranges customers regard
a rather wide assortment of tomatoes as being equally acceptable.

EVALUATION
This study indicates that the standards currently employed
in marketing Florida tomatoes delineate quality differences that
are finer than the perceptions of purchasers in retail stores. Un-
der most conditions consumers regarded two or more grade-size
categories of tomatoes as equally acceptable. For the smaller
sizes and lower grades the indifference zone of the consumer cov-
ers a rather wide assortment of grade and size combinations.
The preference patterns which emerged from the study are
especially relevant to the Florida tomato industry in two re-
spects. They serve to provide guidelines for the development
of specifications for grades and standards which might be sim-
pler and more effective, and they provide evidence that would
be of considerable assistance if the tomato industry should engage
in collective action involving marketing control programs that
use quality as the regulatory device.
Ostensibly, both demand and operational requirements for
efficient trading are reflected in the system of differentiation
provided by the existing grades and standards. The study re-
sults suggest that a much simpler system of grading would
suffice from the standpoint of the demand side of the problem.
Consumers do not discriminate between all the grade and size
designations for tomatoes that the standards provide.
Conclusions regarding the operational feasibility of trading
under a simpler set of standards must be approached with some-
what greater caution. The study did not reckon with the prob-
lems of variations in loss rates or handling costs for tomatoes of
varying grade and size characteristics as they move through the
distribution system. However, a casual examination of the
marketing system would seem to indicate that these considera-
tions fail to support a need for the existing number of grade
and size categories. Perhaps the strongest tangible evidence
in support of this contention stems from the frequently followed
practice of selling tomatoes under combination grade designa-
tions and the fact that sales are sometimes made on the basis of
quality designations such as "U. S. No. 2 or Better" and size
designations such as "6 x 7 or Larger."








Economic Evaluation for Mature Green Tomatoes 27

If operational considerations fail to support the need for the
existing system of grades and standards for tomatoes, there is
much to be said for re-examination of the requirements of the
industry. A simplification of the standards that would not im-
pair their usefulness in trading nor detract from their ability to
communicate quality differences to the consumer has possibilities
of reducing the costs involved in marketing and distributing
the Florida tomato crop. While this study does not provide
the direct evidence upon which an alternative set of standards
might be based, it does suggest that there may exist alternatives
which might be more satisfactory and more efficient in meeting
the requirements of the industry and the consumer.
From time to time there has been considerable interest in
the Florida tomato industry in the development of programs that
would control the quality of tomatoes that are moved into con-
sumption channels. In fact, the industry operated under a Fed-
eral Marketing Order from the winter of 1955 through the 1958-
59 season. Quality control measures within the industry can
serve a dual purpose. They can be used to enhance the reputa-
tional position of the industry in the market place by retaining
from the distribution system that share of the total crop that is
clearly the least desirable from the standpoint of the consumer,
and, if carried far enough, such controls can also serve as volume
control devices. In this latter capacity they become a means of
achieving price stability, or, under conditions of exceptionally
unfavorable price, a means of improving price conditions through
withholding part of the total supply from the market. Obviously,
use of quality control programs for the purpose of attaining some
price objective would also accomplish the objective of enhancing
the reputational position of the industry in the market place if
the volumes withheld from the market were of the qualities that
are least acceptable to the consumer. The results of this study
should be particularly useful in connection with such programs.
They provide a basis for the identification of the grades and sizes
of tomatoes which consumers regard as superior or inferior, and,
in addition, identify those grade-size combinations to which con-
sumers react with indifference. This information should be
helpful in the formulation of specific programs that would ac-
complish necessary reductions in the volume of movement and,
at the same time, maximize the satisfaction of the consumer.









28 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations





ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The successful completion of this research investigation required an un-
common degree of cooperation from marketing firms. Essentially, the
contributions of firms to the effort are a reflection of contributions of in-
dividuals-those who made the management decisions, as well as those who
were responsible for operational activities. While those who contributed
in some measure to the success of the study are far too numerous to mention,
there are a few who made singularly valuable contributions.
The retailing tests were conducted in stores of The Liberal Markets,
Inc., of Dayton, Ohio. The assistance rendered by Bud Jackson, Director
of Produce Operations, and Marcel Lussier, Director of Sales, was of the
highest order. The authors are also most grateful for the cooperation ob-
tained from the management and personnel of the 11 stores of The Liberal
Markets, Inc., that were involved in the study.
Supplies of test products were graded and packed through the facilities
of the DeVita Fruit Company, Lima, Ohio. Without the continuing co-
operation of John S. DeVita and Carl Quinn, the work could not have been
carried out. The writers are also grateful to the ladies who graded and
packed the supplies of test fruit with the necessary degree of consistency
and precision.
Special arrangements were necessary to obtain local supplies of Florida
tomatoes for this study. In this connection, the cooperation of the Indian
River Tomato Packers, Inc., of Fort Pierce, Florida, is gratefully acknowl-
edged. The writers are especially indebted to Meyer Heller for his assistance.





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