The Effect of Food-Related Lifestyle on the Choices of Consumers of Five Food Products

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe201201181082
Title: The Effect of Food-Related Lifestyle on the Choices of Consumers of Five Food Products
Author: Uimonen, Sirpa
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Economics and Management
Thesis level: Licentiate thesis
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to find out whether food-related lifestyle guides and explains product evaluations, specifically, consumer perceptions and choice evaluations of five different food product categories: lettuce, mincemeat, savoury sauce, goat cheese, and pudding. The opinions of consumers who shop in neighbourhood stores were considered most valuable. This study applies means-end chain (MEC) theory, according to which products are seen as means by which consumers attain meaningful goals. The food-related lifestyle (FRL) instrument was created to study lifestyles that reflect these goals. Further, this research has adopted the view that the FRL functions as a script which guides consumer behaviour. Two research methods were used in this study. The first was the laddering interview, the primary aim of which was to gather information for formulating the questionnaire of the main study. The survey consisted of two separate questionnaires. The first was the FRL questionnaire modified for this study. The aim of the other questionnaire was to determine the choice criteria for buying five different categories of food products. Before these analyses could be made, several data modifications were made following MEC analysis procedures. Beside forming FRL dimensions by counting sum-scores from the FRL statements, factor analysis was run in order to elicit latent factors underlying the dimensions. The lifestyle factors found were adventurous, conscientious, enthusiastic, snacking, moderate, and uninvolved lifestyles. The association analyses were done separately for each choice of product as well as for each attribute-consequence linkage with a non-parametric Mann-Whitney U test. The testing variables were FRL dimensions and the FRL lifestyle factors. In addition, the relation between the attribute-consequence linkages and the demographic variables were analysed. Results from this study showed that the choice of product is sequential, so that consumers first categorize products into groups based on specific criteria like health or convenience. It was attested that the food-related lifestyles function as a script in food choice and that the FRL instrument can be used to predict consumer buying behaviour. Certain lifestyles were associated with the choice of each product category. The actual product choice within a product category then appeared to be a different matter. In addition, this study proposes a modification to the FRL instrument. The positive towards advertising FRL dimension was modified to examine many kinds of information search including the internet, TV, magazines, and other people. This new dimension, which was designated as being open to additional information, proved to be very robust and reliable in finding differences in consumer choice behaviour. Active additional information search was linked to adventurous and snacking food-related lifestyles. The results of this study support the previous knowledge that consumers expect to get many benefits simultaneously when they buy food products. This study brought detailed information about the benefits sought, the combination of benefits differing between products and between respondents. Household economy, pleasure and quality were emphasized with the choice of lettuce. Quality was the most significant benefit in choosing mincemeat, but health related benefits were often evaluated as well. The dominant benefits linked to savoury sauce were household economic benefits, expected pleasurable experiences, and a lift in self-respect. The choice of goat cheese appeared not to be an economic decision, self-respect, pleasure, and quality being included in the choice criteria. In choosing pudding, the respondents considered the well-being of family members, and indulged their family members or themselves.
URI: URN:NBN:fi-fe201201181082
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/29249
Date: 2011-12-13
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.


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