By John Stanley The fun of retailing is that there are always opportunities to grow sales, even when the consumer may not like the product now that may sound like a contradiction in ideas. Let me give you an example. Heinz, the food company recently carried out a survey in the U.K. to find out which was the least liked vegetable by children in that country. Baby Boomer readers of this article are going to quickly respond that the answer to that survey would be easy, it is the Brussel Sprout, but they would be wrong, it came in at number two, with 37% of children detesting this vegetable. The most hated vegetable according to this survey is the Aubergine or Egg Plant. Does this mean sales of aubergines should decline? I would argue that the entrepreneurial retailer would use this negative news as a positive marketing opportunity. Think about if you were a greengrocer or farmers market and the opportunities that now exist for you. 1. Be honest and tell them Use this latest marketing research in your own marketing. Promote the issue in your newsletter under the heading â€œWhy is the Aubergine hated by children?â€ This would encourage readers to read the article and discover more information about the product. It may be hated, because the consumer doesnâ€™t really know how to prepare or cook the produce. On signage next to the vegetable you could place a shelf wobbler saying â€œProve to your kids they donâ€™t have to hate the Aubergineâ€. 2. Have a Save the Aubergine Campaign Have an aubergine week where you aim to save the aubergine. Find as many recipes as possible that include aubergines and encourage your customers to come up with new aubergine recipes that could be introduced to new customers. You could start an aubergine cooking book and have aubergine cooking classes in your greengrocers or farmers market. 3. Take the Hatred to the Market Imagine if you developed new recipes for aubergines and then involved the local school on a taste test and promoted the results in your retail store and your newsletter. The competition could be filmed and released on YouTube.com under the title â€œKids learn to love the most Hated Vegetableâ€. Iâ€™m sure there are a host of other ways that local marketing techniques could be used to turn the most hated into a marketing hero. I have used the aubergine as the example in this article, purely because this is topical research, the results of which were released in April 2008. Iâ€™m sure a similar style of marketing campaign could be built around other negative news releases that related to other products and retail scenarios whether it be the most hated plant, hardware task, the Olympic torch or news related item. Look at the opportunities that news provides rather than concentrate on the negatives. Plus, donâ€™t forget to eat your aubergines.