What’s In a Name? By Tim Hodson

I’ve always been intrigued by how breeding companies come up with the names for their new varieties.

There’s always some kind of a story behind how the name was derived. Sometimes a lot of thought and testing goes into the name, other times the breeder names the plant after a relative or a favorite vacation spot but no two stories are ever the same.

The big challenge is to select a name that will have a lasting impact for the breeding company so they can market the plant for years to come while making a lasting impression on the end consumer. Something that will get a gardener’s attention and a name they’ll remember when it comes time to buy the plant again in the future.

According to a recent research report, when it comes to getting people to buy … and eat … more vegetables, the name definitely impacts the consumer’s appetite.

Bradley P. Turnwald and a team of researchers at Stanford University* recently published a study that revealed that enticing vegetable names actually did, in fact, entice people to purchase more veggies.

What’s On the Menu?

The study was conducted over 46 days in the fall of 2016 in the cafeteria at a large university. Every day, the staff would label one vegetable in one of four ways: basic (e.g., beets, green beans or carrots); healthy restrictive (e.g., “lighter-choice beets with no added sugar,” “light n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” or “carrots with sugar-free citrus dressing”); healthy positive (e.g., “high-antioxidant beets,” “healthy energy-boosting green beans and shallots” or “smart-choice vitamin C citrus carrots”); or indulgent (e.g., “dynamite chili and tangy lime-seasoned beets,” “sweet sizzilin’ green beans and crispy shallots” or “twisted citrus-glazed carrots”).

All of the vegetables were prepared exactly same way, only their names were changed.

After observing nearly 28,000 diners, Turnwald and his colleagues found that indulgent labeling of vegetables resulted in 25 percent more people selecting the vegetable compared with basic labeling, 41 percent more people than the healthy restrictive labeling and 35 percent more people than the healthy positive labeling.

Indulgent labeling also resulted in a 23 percent increase in the total amount of vegetables consumed compared with basic labeling and a 33 percent increase in the mass of vegetables consumed compared with the healthy restrictive labeling.

An interesting way to sell more product, isn’t it?

What’s Your Name

Do you have your own plant brand? How do you come up with the plant names for your brand?

You just might want to rethink your naming strategy.

As William Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” but a ‘Ravishing Rose’ might sell more plants.



Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at thodson@greatamericanpublish.com



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