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Study of the importance of emotional factors connected to the colors of fresh-cut cactus pear fruits in the consumer purchase choices for a marketing positioning strategy


The cactus pear has always aroused curiosity because of its shape and its particular structural characteristics (plate and spiny clatodes, oval fruits of different colors and flowers of an enchanting beauty). This plant evocates the territory where it grows, characterized by a sub-tropical climate, which in Europe is represented by the region of Sicily, the island of the Southern Italy, that is one of the main producers in the Mediterranean area. Sicily has three native cultivars with different colors of the fruit: red, yellow and white. The variety with the yellow fruit is the most widespread, although all of them are commercialized. The chromatic variety of these fruits is one of the strengths of the product and it might be the main element of attraction for consumers. Starting from this assumption in this study it was measured the attractiveness for consumers of the colors of the Sicilian fresh-cut cactus pear fruits. There were investigated the unconscious emotional impulses that lead consumers to the desire of satisfaction of the underlying needs (instead than primary needs) that depend on the view of the fruit colors. We investigated also these secondary needs and their connections with the typical elements of cactus pear territory of origin that in this case is Sicily. These elements appear crucial for Sicilian cactus pear repositioning in the international retail market. A sample of consumers was surveyed in some European Union Countries, using a stratified-random sampling scheme. We showed pictures of Sicilian cactus pear plants and fruits, in their growing territory and different life contexts. Furthermore a consumer ‘sensory test’ on fresh-cut fruits was made. Data collected were processed through the application of multivariate statistics methods. Taste and color were the main drivers for consumers to buy these fruits, combination of colors was preferred and red fruits were more attractive if shown together with other colors. Thanks to evocative images and pictures of colored cactus pear plants and fruits, it was possible to identify the consumers’ secondary needs related to the territory of growing. A market segmentation, according to different types of consumers, needs and geographic zones (geo-marketing) was provided.