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 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 The reason for the research
 The method of conducting the...
 The study results
 Discussion
 Summary
 Acknowledgement














Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ; no. 648
Title: Customer preference aspects of competition between Florida and California celery
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027290/00001
 Material Information
Title: Customer preference aspects of competition between Florida and California celery
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 16 p. : ill. ; 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: 1962
 Subjects
Subject: Celery -- Marketing   ( lcsh )
Consumers' preferences   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: Marshall R. Godwin and William T. Manley.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "In cooperation with Marketing Economics Division, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture"--7 p.
Funding: Bulletin (University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station)
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027290
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000929029
oclc - 18352819
notis - AEN9793

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
    Introduction
        Page 3
    The reason for the research
        Page 3
    The method of conducting the research
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    The study results
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Discussion
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Summary
        Page 15
    Acknowledgement
        Page 16
Full Text



Bulletin 648


CUSTOMER PREFERENCE

ASPECTS OF COMPETITION BETWEEN

FLORIDA AND CALIFORNIA CELERY








MARSHALL R. GODWIN
AND
WILLIAM T. MANLEY









FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA
J. R. BECKENBACH, Director
in cooperation with
Marketing Economics Division
Economic Research Service
United States Department of Agriculture


June 1962

























CONTENTS
Page


INTRODUCTION .. .......-- ..- ... .... ...... ........--.................. 3


THE REASON FOR THE RESEARCH ---.......................... ...... ...-... ----. 3


THE METHOD OF CONDUCTING THE RESEARCH .......................--............ 4


THE STUDY RESULTS ......-....-.............................. ...... ..............-- 7

Total sales effect ............... ...--- ...-----....-------- ..-.......-- -- .... 7

Sales per 100 customers .- --............- ... .---... ........ .....---...-- .. 10


DISCUSSION ---..--- --....-------------------------- -- ......................----- .--- 12


SUMMARY .....- ...-- ...- ...- ...............- ................... ............ ------ -- ---- 15









CUSTOMER PREFERENCE
ASPECTS OF COMPETITION BETWEEN
FLORIDA AND CALIFORNIA CELERY

MARSHALL R. GODWIN AND WILLIAM T. MANLEY

INTRODUCTION
The food supply of the United States consists of many hun-
dreds of products. In some degree, all of these compete for a
share of the family food budget and for a place on the tables of
the nation. Within this competitive framework, the plight
of individual segments of agriculture differs considerably. The
producers and shippers of some products are afforded consider-
able protection from the inroads of other food items by die-
tary considerations and historical consumption patterns, while
others face immediate and direct competition from one or
many substitutes. The latter category includes celery grown
in Florida.
Aside from the competition generated by the production
of many other green and leafy vegetables that can be used in
the place of Florida celery, this crop must also face the formid-
able competition afforded by the celery producers of California.
Over the entire span of the Florida producing season, and in
most of the major market areas of the country, Florida celery
must enter into direct competition with the California prod-
uct. To preserve-and most certainly to improve-their mar-
ket position, growers and shippers of Florida celery need to
understand the nature of the competition which they face
from their counterparts in the West. The purpose of this re-
search effort was to examine certain facets of the competitive
relationship between these two producing areas.

THE REASON FOR THE RESEARCH
The customary method of examining the competitive re-
lationship between products is to explore the behavior pat-
tern of consumers under conditions of changing relative prices.
However, there are also nonprice aspects of competition which
deserve consideration. From the standpoint of the Florida cel-
ery industry, two of these nonprice considerations are of spe-
cial importance.









CUSTOMER PREFERENCE
ASPECTS OF COMPETITION BETWEEN
FLORIDA AND CALIFORNIA CELERY

MARSHALL R. GODWIN AND WILLIAM T. MANLEY

INTRODUCTION
The food supply of the United States consists of many hun-
dreds of products. In some degree, all of these compete for a
share of the family food budget and for a place on the tables of
the nation. Within this competitive framework, the plight
of individual segments of agriculture differs considerably. The
producers and shippers of some products are afforded consider-
able protection from the inroads of other food items by die-
tary considerations and historical consumption patterns, while
others face immediate and direct competition from one or
many substitutes. The latter category includes celery grown
in Florida.
Aside from the competition generated by the production
of many other green and leafy vegetables that can be used in
the place of Florida celery, this crop must also face the formid-
able competition afforded by the celery producers of California.
Over the entire span of the Florida producing season, and in
most of the major market areas of the country, Florida celery
must enter into direct competition with the California prod-
uct. To preserve-and most certainly to improve-their mar-
ket position, growers and shippers of Florida celery need to
understand the nature of the competition which they face
from their counterparts in the West. The purpose of this re-
search effort was to examine certain facets of the competitive
relationship between these two producing areas.

THE REASON FOR THE RESEARCH
The customary method of examining the competitive re-
lationship between products is to explore the behavior pat-
tern of consumers under conditions of changing relative prices.
However, there are also nonprice aspects of competition which
deserve consideration. From the standpoint of the Florida cel-
ery industry, two of these nonprice considerations are of spe-
cial importance.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


In Florida, producers have the option during much of the
growing season of producing either the Utah type Pascal celery
or those varieties generally referred to as the Summer Pascal
types. Since these two types have distinctly different physi-
cal characteristics, the relative merit of each in comparison to
California celery is a question of some importance to the Flori-
da industry.
There exists belief in many quarters-and especially in the
wholesale distribution channels-that, owing to a wide and
somewhat indistinct set of reasons, the fact that fruits and
vegetables are produced in California has value-enhancing prop-
erties. The second question to which this study is addressed is
concerned with whether California celery enjoys an inherent
advantage in the market because of the reputation of the area
in which it is grown.

THE METHOD OF CONDUCTING THE RESEARCH
There is a substantial difference in the general appearance
and configuration of the two principal types of celery produced
in Florida. Generally speaking, the Summer Pascal varieties
are less compact and present a much less fluted appearance than
the Utah type varieties. The latter varieties are the princi-
pal ones grown in California, and, to a considerable extent, the
production of the Utah type celery in Florida stemmed from
a desire on the part of growers and shippers to make available
to the market a Florida celery with characteristics similar to
those customarily associated with the California product.
However, there are slight differences in the appearance of the
Utah type celery grown in California and that grown in Florida.
To provide information on the preference of consumers for
the differing varietal characteristics of Florida celery, special
retailing tests were conducted. In these tests the Florida
Summer Pascal and the Utah type Pascal were marketed in
direct competition with the Utah type from California. In
effect, dual displays were established in retail stores so that
customers could compare the products directly and make a
choice. One component of the display was always California
celery of the Utah type. The other component was either the
Summer Pascal or the Utah type grown in Florida. Thus, the
buyer always had a choice between Florida and California celery,
but the kind of Florida celery available was systematically
changed in conformance with a predetermined procedure.







Competition Between Florida and California Celery


A second consideration in the study related to the advan-
tages which California celery might have over the Florida prod-
uct as a result of the general reputation of California as a fruit
and vegetable producing area. To examine this aspect of the
competitive situation between the two states, the matched
lots of celery were sometimes identified as to producing area
through the use of specially prepared placards. On other oc-
casions no information was available to the consumer regarding
the origin of the celery in each display.' Typical display ar-
rangements are shown in Figure 1.
In conducting the retailing tests, the identification phase
of the problem was combined with the test of varietal charac-
teristics to produce four test situations:

Celery in both displays identified
(1) Florida Summer Pascal in competition with Utah type
grown in California.
(2) Utah type grown in Florida in competition with Utah
type grown in California.
Celery in both displays not identified
(3) Florida Summer Pascal in competition with Utah type
grown in California.
(4) Utah type grown in Florida in competition with Utah
type grown in California.
The foregoing basic situations were arranged in a series of
tests extending over a period of two weeks and involving four
large retail food stores in the Dayton, Ohio, market area. The
tests were carried out in May of 1960. Only size 30 celery of
the U.S. No. 1 grade was employed. The dual displays of celery
were continuously serviced to insure that they remained com-
parable in quality and general appearance. Throughout the
tests the celery from both areas was sold at the same price-
21 cents per stalk.
The manner in which the variety-identification combinations
were arranged for testing in the four stores is shown in Figure 2.
In the first week of the study, the competitive displays consisted
of Utah type celery from both producing areas. The displays

lAnalysis of variance was employed to determine statistically the
effects of varietal characteristics and identification status on customer pur-
chase rates. The "F" test was used to establish significance or nonsig-
nificance of these effects.








Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


A typical display arrangement when celery from the two areas was
not identified as to origin. The comparison was Florida Summer Pascal
(left) and Utah type celery from California (right).


A typical display arrangement when celery from the two areas was
identified as to origin. The comparison here consisted of the Utah type
celery from California (left) and Florida (right).

Figure 1.-Display techniques employed in experimental tests.







Competition Between Florida and California Celery


were alternately identified and not identified as to origin during
the four test periods into which the week was divided. In the
second week the competitive displays were composed of Califor-
nia Utah and Florida Summer Pascal celery, and again the sys-
tem of alternately identifying and not identifying the displays
was followed.
THE STUDY RESULTS
The end product of this study was measurement of the
response of customers to the various retailing situations with
which they were confronted. The manner in which they modi-
fied their purchase patterns provides evidence of the relative
preference for the two types of Florida celery in relation to
the Utah type from California, and affords an insight into the
reputational advantage which California has in the minds of
buyers. There are two ways of viewing customer response to
the test situations. The results may be examined in an ag-
gregate sense, that is, the effect of the test situations on
the sales of celery by types and in total. Secondly, the find-
ings can be examined in terms of changes in customer purchase
rates. Both of these points of view are relevant and will be
given consideration.
Total Sales Effect.-Consumers made comparatively little
distinction between the Utah type celery from Florida and
that from California as long as the two products were not iden-
tified as to origin. Out of the total of 1481 stalks of celery
sold in such test situations, the Florida share was 45.2 percent
(Figures 3 and 4). However, identification of the producing
areas had a substantial adverse effect on Florida sales. In the
test situations in which the Utah type celery was clearly la-
beled as to origin, the position of Florida celery was much less
favorable. Out of a total of 1379 stalks of celery sold Florida
accounted for only one-third of the sales, while two-thirds
consisted of the California product.
When the Florida Summer Pascal type celery was marketed
in competition with the Utah type from California, a pre-
ponderance of the buyers demonstrated a preference for the
California product. This was true with equal force regardless
of the identification status of the displays (Figure 3). When
both the Florida and the California celery were identified as to
origin in these test situations, sales from the Florida display
accounted for 26.2 percent of the total quantity of celery pur-




















Week 1 Week 2

Store The Comparison: California Utah The Comparison: California Utah
Number and Florida Utah and Florida Summer Pascal
Monday- Monday-
Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


Not Not Not Not
1 Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified


Not Not Not Not
2 Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified


Not Not Not Not
3 Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified


Not Not Not Not
4 Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified Identified


o


a

'9

o
Z

-3
a
rr.
t~l
H



cs
f
o
t/l
re
a


Figure 2.-Arrangement for testing variety-identification combinations of Florida and California celery.








Competition Between Florida and California Celery !





Comparison: Utah Type Celery from Both Areas


Displays Identified


Displays Not Identified

Florida 670


California 81)

0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
Number of Stalks Sold

Comparison: Florida Summer Pascal and California Utah Types


Displays Identified

Florida 359


Displays Not Identified

Florida 309


California 793

0 100 200 300 400
Number of


500 600 700 800 900 1000
Stalks Sold


Figure 3.-Total sales of California and Florida celery in various test
situations.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


chased by homemakers (Figure 4). When the origin of the cel-
ery was not indicated on the displays, the Florida share of the
total remained low at 28.0 percent of the total. Identification
apparently works neither to the advantage nor to the disad-
vantage of the Summer Pascal type celery from Florida.


Comparison: Utah Type Celery from Both Areas


California Florida

Displays 67.0 33.0
Identified
Displays 54.8 45.2
Not Identified




Comparison: Florida Summer Pascal and California Utah Types


California Florida

Displays 73.8 26.2
Identified
Displays 72.0 28.0
Not Identified




Figure 4.-Percentage distribution of Florida and California celery
sales under various test conditions.

Sales Per 100 Customers.-An alternative method of view-
ing the study results is in terms of customer purchase rates.
This approach provides an idea of the frequency of celery pur-
chases in relation to total store traffic, and affords a rather
sharp view of how the rate may change in response to differ-
ences in variety or identification status. Conversion of the
basic data into this form entails dividing the total quantity of
each type of celery that was sold in a particular test situation
by the total store traffic during periods when each test was
in effect. For convenience and ease of interpretation, purchase
rates are expressed in terms of number of stalks bought per
100 customers passing through the stores during a particular








Competition Between Florida and California Celery


test situation. The results obtained from the four
situations translated into these terms are shown in


basic test
Figure 5.


Comparison: Utah Type Celery from Both Areas


California Florida
Displays 4.86 2.29
Identified stalks stalks
Displays 5.22 3.99
Not Identified stalks stalks



Comparison: Florida Summer Pascal and California Utah Types


California Florida
Displays 5.36 1.93
Identified stalks stalks
Displays 5.78 2.22
Not Identified stalks stalks



Figure 5.-Sales rates per 100 customers of Florida and California
celery for each type comparison and identification status.

Here again, it is apparent that identification made a ma-
terial difference in the sales of Florida celery when the Utah
type celery from both areas was employed in the test situa-
tions. When both displays contained Utah type celery not
identified as to origin, the combined sales rate for the two dis-
plays was 9.21 stalks per 100 customers. Florida celery ac-
counted for 3.99 stalks of the total and California sales
amounted to 5.22 stalks. Identifying the Utah type celery
from both areas worked to the disadvantage of the Florida
product. When the origin was known to buyers, the sales of
Florida celery dropped sharply to 2.29 stalks per 100 custom-
ers, while California sales remained comparatively high at 4.86
stalks per 100 customers. The relatively small reduction in
sales of California celery between the unidentified and identi-
fied test situations might reasonably be expected since some
random variations will occur in experiments of this nature.
However, the reduction in sales of Florida celery when the







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


displays were identified cannot be explained by random varia-
tion. Consequently, the results indicate a decline in the sales
of Florida celery when the displays were identified as to origin.
Both in the identified and the unidentified test situations,
the sales of Summer Pascal type Florida celery were low when
compared with the Utah type celery from California. In the
unidentified situations, the sales rate for the Summer Pascal
type celery from Florida was 2.22 stalks per 100 customers as
compared with a rate of 5.78 stalks for California Utah. The
same relationship held for the comparative sales of the two
when the displays were identified as to origin. Florida sales in
these situations amounted to 1.93 stalks per 100 customers
while California sales were 5.36 stalks. The results of these
tests may appear to indicate that the sales of both Florida
and California celery were lower in the identified displays than
in those where the origin of the celery was not known to the
buyer. However, such was not the case to the extent that
the differences can be associated with identification status.
The apparent reduction is due entirely to random variations
inherent in the tests. The tests indicate that while the sales
rate of Summer Pascal celery from Florida was low relative to
the sales rate for the Utah type grown in California, the sales
of the Florida celery were not adversely affected by identifica-
tion.
The effects of identification were quite different for the
Utah type and the Summer Pascal types of celery grown in Flor-
ida. In the comparisons involving the Florida and the Califor-
nia Utah type celery, identification of the displays resulted in
a sharp decline in Florida celery sales. This did not occur for
the Florida Summer Pascal type celery. Moreover, it is signifi-
cant to note that when the Utah type Florida celery was iden-
tified as to origin, the sales rate for this product was not ap-
preciably greater than the sales rate of the Florida Summer
Pascal under either identification status. It was only when
Utah type from Florida was marketed in competition with the
California Utah celery under conditions of no identification
that Florida celery sales approached the level of those from
California.
DISCUSSION
The responses obtained in this study serve to identify two
of the major problems confronting the Florida celery industry.
First, it is apparent that a preponderance of the customers







Competition Between Florida and California Celery


prefer celery with the Utah type characteristics over celery
with the features customarily associated with the Summer
Pascal types. Second, there is strong evidence that California
celery enjoys a reputational advantage in the market place,
even though only a small minority can distinguish it from the
Florida Utah type.
To meet the preference of customers for celery with the
varietal characteristics of the Utah types, substantial num-
bers of Florida growers are shifting their plantings to a larger
proportion of these varieties2. However, the fact that these
varieties are not indigenous to Florida creates a host of produc-
tion problems. Not the least of these is the tendency for
Utah type celery to "bolt" or form a seedstalk after being
subjected to low temperatures. Aside from the production
difficulties which have been encountered in producing the Utah
type celery varieties in Florida, the fact remains that these
varieties are generally less compact and less fluted in appear-
ance when grown under Florida conditions than when they are
grown in the western areas of the country. All of these limi-
tations argue for the development of more satisfactory varie-
ties expressly suited to Florida conditions. Efforts in this
direction are being pursued with diligence by private individu-
als and firms and by public research agencies in Florida. Suc-
cess in these efforts would do much to enhance the competi-
tive position of the Florida celery industry.
The apparent reputational advantage which California cel-
ery seems to enjoy poses a different kind of problem. It is diffi-
cult to identify the circumstances which give rise to the fa-
vorable image which customers apparently have of California
celery. However, the reaction to the identification of the Utah
type displays of the two products strongly suggests that such a
condition exists.
There are two general areas in which one might search for
the reasons behind the behavior pattern of consumers in this
regard. The first of these relates to the promotion of Cali-
fornia products. Generally speaking, the California fruit and
vegetable industry has been active in this field. While com-
paratively little of this has been in product areas that can be
either directly or indirectly tied to celery, it is true that the
"Planting data for the 1961-62 season indicate the following percentage
distributions between the two celery types: Utah types, 76.6%; Summer
Pascal types, 23.4%. Unpublished data, Florida Fresh Produce Exchange,
Orlando, Florida, April 1962.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


agricultural industry of California has done much to create a
public image through the promotion of walnuts, dates, raisins,
citrus and other products. Additionally, California is the
source of a considerable share of processed fruit and vegetable
products. The distribution of these goods is largely in the
hands of national food distributors who spend large sums for ad-
vertising and promotion. Conceivably, the rather numerous in-
dividual promotional efforts of industry segments and of large
firms have had a cumulative effect in the minds of consumers.
A second basis on which one might account for the seeming
inherent preference of consumers for California celery might
stem from constancy of supply and uniformity of quality. For
one fruit and vegetable product or another, California figures
in the total supply picture throughout the year. Moreover,
the locational disadvantage of California creates high shipping
costs and necessitates rather rigorous grading and standardi-
zation. It is probable that for celery, and for fruit and vege-
table products in the aggregate, the use experience of con-
sumers has been generally favorable. The prevalence of such
an impression among consumers would, of course, account for
their behavior in this study. Understandably, they would se-
lect celery from an area which consistently supplied them with
fruit and vegetable products of a satisfactory quality. This
contention becomes even more logical if one will remember that
in this study Florida and California celery was sold at identi-
cal prices of 21 cents per stalk. In reality, consumers have
been accustomed to paying slightly more for California celery
than for that grown in Florida.
At best, the foregoing discussion can only be regarded as
carefully considered conjecture. The study was designed to
determine how customers would react to specific variety and
identification situations and not to explore the underlying rea-
sons for their actions. Inquiry into the latter field may be of
interest and benefit to the Florida celery industry, but it is
something that should be undertaken in cooperation with oth-
er agricultural industries of the state. Probing into the moti-
vations behind patterns of consumer behavior is an undertak-
ing which demands uncommon skills and considerable resources.
Further, the problems of the celery industry are inextricably
bound up with those of other segments of Florida agriculture.






Competition Between Florida and California Celery


SUMMARY
This research examines certain nonprice aspects of the com-
petitive relationship between Florida and California celery.
More specifically, experiments were conducted to determine
(a) the market advantage enjoyed by California celery result-
ing from the general reputation of the area in which it is
grown, and (b) the relative merits of the Utah Pascal type
and the Summer Pascal type celery produced in Florida.
The method of carrying out the research involved a series
of tests at the retail store level. These tests were conducted
for two weeks in four large supermarkets in the Dayton, Ohio,
market area. Florida Summer Pascal and Utah type Pascal
celery was marketed in competition with the Utah type from
California. Dual displays were established in which one com-
ponent always consisted of California celery of the Utah type.
The other component was either the Summer Pascal or the
Utah type grown in Florida. At certain intervals the matched
lots were identified as to producing area and at others they
were left unidentified. Size 30 celery was used in both displays
throughout the experiment and both products were sold at
the same price.
Identification of the place of origin adversely affected the
sales of the Utah type celery grown in Florida. When the dis-
plays were not identified as to origin, sales of the Utah type
from both growing areas were about the same. But when the
displays were identified, there was a substantial decline in the
sales of Florida celery with Florida accounting for only one-third
of the total sales.
On the other hand, preferences of consumers for the Florida
Summer Pascal type celery were not greatly affected by iden-
tification. Whether the displays were identified or unidenti-
fied as to place of origin, sales of Florida celery accounted for
less than a third of the total celery sales. The experiment
clearly demonstrated that consumers have a distinct prefer-
ence for the Utah type celery over the Summer Pascal type.
The reasons behind the seeming reputational advantage of
California celery cannot be stated with certainty. The most
likely explanation relates to the fact that celery marketing
practices have been a part of an over-all vegetable marketing
program in California emphasizing constant supplies and a high
degree of uniformity. The effectiveness of this program has
been bolstered by the promotional efforts of both industry







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


sectors and national food distributing firms. The inferior po-
sition of Florida celery is but one facet of the fundamental
difference in the consumer image of vegetables grown in Flor-
ida and those grown in California. Corrective actions on the
part of the Florida celery industry must be considered within
the context of the broader problem facing Florida vegetable
growers and shippers.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The assistance and cooperation of many individuals were required in
conducting this study. The authors would like to accord particular recog-
nition to the following individuals and firms whose contributions were
outstanding and essential to the success of the work:
The retail stores required for conducting the tests were made available
by The Liberal Markets, Inc. of Dayton, Ohio. Special recognition is due
Mr. Bud Jackson of this firm who was instrumental in securing the neces-
sary test facilities and gave his enthusiastic and invaluable assistance
throughout the study.
Mr. B. C. Tripoli and Mr. Anthony Dattilo, Phil Dattilo & Co., Cin-
cinnati, Ohio, were responsible for securing and handling the specified
types and quantities of celery necessary to conduct the experiments and
were patient and understanding in the face of the problems involved.
Mr. E. A. McCabe, Pioneer Growers Co-operative, and Mr. Billy Rog-
ers, South Bay Growers, Inc., gave their support to the work by arrang-
ing for special shipments of celery from the Belle Glade producing area
to the test market.
To these, and many others, the authors are grateful.




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