For Rewe, the customer is the key factor when looking at the range. The customers and their needs should be the focal point. However, Rewe observes that needs change and it wants to support the consumers’ decisions in the best possible way. Rewe has identified 3 developments that influence consumer behaviour. Our way of life is changing. The rising number of single households, the aging population and the increasingly hectic lives people lead are some of the examples that Johannes von Eerde, category manager at Rewe — one of the leading German supermarket chains, with a market share of around 15% — mentioned during the international conference on ‘Tomatoes, trends towards 2020’ held from 13 to15 April 2016 in Antwerp. He stressed that this development is not affecting the market only temporarily, so we should expect this to be a long-term turnaround. These days there are many food trends that influence the customer. Low carb, vegetarian or flexitarian are but a few of the terms we are familiar with.
“The customer is buying more consciously,” Von Eerde said.
Customers need change
The consumer is not focusing solely on price anymore. “Quality is becoming increasingly important,” Von Eerde said. Health, enjoyment, taste, diversity and, foremost, quality are increasingly becoming the consumer focus. A third consumer influence – and this is particularly strong in Germany – is the preference for locally produced fruit and vegetables. Rewe finds that mentioning German origin generates trust in all fresh categories, but especially in fruit and vegetables. An AT Kearney study shows that the vast majority of German consumers want to buy local products: 84%, far more than the 37% who want sustainably-produced food.
“In those products too, taste and quality are important,” Von Eerde said.
Shift from vine tomatoes to smaller tomatoes
In 2007 the speciality segment formed 12% of Rewe’s total tomato range and in 2012 this had increased to 32%. Here too, taste seems to be the driver. Von Eerde explained that the customer preference has shifted towards the smaller tomatoes because of their better taste. Vine tomatoes are not the only ones to have been reduced. Normal tomatoes saw their share decreasing from 20% to 13% between 2007 and 2012. The fleshy tomatoes’ share has remained more or less stable over the years, at around 4%.
Tomato range to meet the customers’ needs
When shaping the tomato range, the key focal points for Rewe are price and needs, ranging from basic use to additional benefits, resulting in basic, value added and specialty products. At the bottom of the pyramid, the clever savings concept offers a basic tomato to cover basic needs. A low price guarantee is important here, explained Von Eerde. Moving up the pyramid are the volume profile brands Rewe Regional and Rewe Beste Wahl (Best Choice). They focus on geographical, emotional and trusted proximity. “These products are produced and offered regionally,” Von Eerde said. Rewe Best Choice offers the best quality for the best price and convenience for the customers, so it is an easy decision. ”Best Choice offers a higher quality and taste experience,” Von Eerde said. One step higher is the brand profile that offers security: REWE Bio. It supplies the consumer with tomatoes that can be enjoyed healthily and offers authority, trust and transparency.
“The price is a bit higher because organic products have higher production costs,” Von Eerde said.
At the top of the pyramid, the exclusive Edle Ernte (precious harvest) brand focuses on pleasure-loving and exploring customers. It brings them exquisite specialties from all over the world.
“Those products certainly are not mass products and there is limited availability,” Von Eerde said.
Rewe at a glance
Rewe Group brings together a number of diverse sales formats under one roof. Each of these formats is designed to fulfil the customers’ desires and needs optimally. In food retailing, the Rewe Group operates supermarkets that stock fresh foods and items that people need every day (Rewe City, Rewe, Nahkauf), large supermarkets with a comprehensive range of food and non-food products (Rewe Center) and discount stores (Penny) that are recognised for their favourable prices, fresh products and quality. They are complemented by organic supermarkets (Temma), innovative convenience stores (Rewe To Go), the gastronomy concept “Oh Angie!” and e-commerce activities (Rewe Lieferservice).