Direct and Mediated Impacts of Product and Process Characteristics on Consumers’ Choice of Organic vs. Conventional Chicken

Food Quality and Preference, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 106-112, 2013

Posted: 24 Feb 2014

See all articles by Livia Marian

Livia Marian

Aarhus University - MAPP Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector

John Thoegersen

Aarhus University - Department of Marketing and Statistics

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

There is a lack of research into why consumers value process characteristics. In this study, we test the hypothesis that the impact of process characteristics such as organic and free-range on consumers’ choices of food products is at least partly mediated through expected eating quality or taste expectations. In other words, the process characteristics partly function as cues to (eating) quality. Using a traditional metric conjoint approach based on an additive model, four product characteristics (production method, price, size and information about farmer and rearing conditions) were varied in a fractional factorial conjoint design, creating nine profiles of whole chickens. 384 Respondents rated the nine different chickens in terms of taste expectations and willingness to buy. Since the nine records for each respondent are not independent, we used linear mixed modelling for the mediation analysis. We find that, as expected, taste expectations are a strong predictor of willingness to buy. As hypothesised, the impact of both product and process characteristics on willingness to buy is at least partly mediated through taste expectations. Hence, the study shows that process characteristics are important for consumers, not only in and off themselves, but partly because consumers make inferences about eating quality from knowledge about such process characteristics.

Keywords: Consumer choice, Quality cues, Expected taste, Conjoint analysis, Mediation analysis, Organic chicken

Suggested Citation

Marian, Livia and Thoegersen, John, Direct and Mediated Impacts of Product and Process Characteristics on Consumers’ Choice of Organic vs. Conventional Chicken (2013). Food Quality and Preference, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 106-112, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2400349

Livia Marian (Contact Author)

Aarhus University - MAPP Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector ( email )

Bartholins Allé 10
Aarhus, 8000
Denmark

John Thoegersen

Aarhus University - Department of Marketing and Statistics ( email )

Haslegårdsvej 10
Århus V
Denmark

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