The Exotic Taste of Europe campaign was present this year at the International Agricultural Show (SIA) in Paris, with a special booth for outermost region labels in order to draw the consumers. It was an opportunity for the team to ask the general public about their perception of the sectors concerned by the outermost region labels.
The questionnaires were handed out to the visitors upon their arrival at SIA. The participants had therefore not really been exposed to or made aware of the campaign yet.
The outcome of the survey shows that 30% of the participants were already familiar with the European banana producers from the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Madeira and the Canaries. These results echo the 38% of positive responses regarding their knowledge of the outermost region labels. Karym Bagoee, coordinator of the Exotic Taste of Europe campaign for UGPBAN, GESBA and ASPROCAN, declared being satisfied with those results. “38% is rather positive for a sample that has not been exposed to the campaign.
This label is not so well-known compared to the biological or AOC/AOP labels. It also represents 9 regions which are geographically distant from the European continent, while being part of the European community.” Besides, the annual measures of awareness of the outermost region labels conducted with individuals who were exposed to the campaign, show that “81% of the participants identify the outermost region labels and their message”, against 32% for the non-exposed respondents. This is a further increase of 6 points recorded at SIA for the non-exposed survey participants.
This survey also raised a crucial point by asking the question: “when buying fruits and vegetables, which characteristics are most important to you?” Out of the 9 eligible criteria, the priority for the consumer lies in the “quality and taste of the products”. In second place came the “compliance with EU health, social and environmental standards”, while the price of the product only came in 7th position, followed by labels in general and the brand in final position.
“These results prove that “it is not only the product’s quality, or its origin (4th position) that matter most, but the compliance with European regulations on social and ecological sustainability, as well as quality and taste of course,” explains Karym. “What the consumers express here is that their pleasure to consume is intertwined with expectations in terms of a trust in the cultivation practices and of societal benefits. All of this is guaranteed by European standards, which are the highest in the world, and which are respected and even exceeded by European banana producers. This makes our campaign legitimate.”
“Our European regulation is very demanding with its producers and sets the example to follow. At the same time, we must ask as much of the productions from third countries, which are far from respecting our high standards. This study at SIA in Paris shows that the consumer is starting to understand that we must promote the work of our European producers! A study from the French Agency for the Development and Promotion of Biological Agriculture shows that 62% of the French consumers have doubts about the organic label. Additionally, 51% consider themselves to be poorly informed about the organic origins and 63% about the controls!”
The efforts made to carry out this campaign to promote the european origin are thus rather promising and encouraging, even if, as Karym says, “it is the first time that we focus our communication so much on the outermost region labels, and it will take several years to continue to make them known and to consolidate durably the image that the consumer has of it.”