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An ethnographic analysis of consumer information processing and decision-making at farmers’ markets

An ethnographic analysis of consumer information processing and decision-making at farmers’ markets Farmers’ markets have grown rapidly in recent years and at the same time consumers increasingly desire to eat healthfully and sustainably. This research aims to analyze the way consumers process information regarding local food claims such as sustainability and organics when shopping for local foods at farmers’ markets.Design/methodology/approachThis research uses ethnographic methods that included interviews with 36 participants, more than 100 hours of participant observation and prolonged engagement over a two and half-year period.FindingsThe findings indicate that there are two dominant types of consumers at the farmers’ market, hedonistic and utilitarian consumers. Hedonistic consumers rely on heuristic cues such as aesthetics, their relationship with the farmer and other peripheral sources of information when making purchase decisions. Utilitarian consumers, by contrast, carefully analyze marketing messages using central route cues and tend to be more conscious of their purchase choices.Practical implicationsThis study will help farmers more effectively position their marketing messages and help consumers be aware how they process information in this space.Originality/valueUnlike previous studies of consumer behavior at farmers’ markets that primarily use survey methods, this study uses observational and ethnographic methods to capture in situ interactions in this complex buying context. Further, while much work has been done on broad concepts of local food and organic preferences, this study provides a more in-depth look at consumer information processing in the farmers’ market space that reflects a mixture of organic and non-organic food. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Consumer Marketing Emerald Publishing

An ethnographic analysis of consumer information processing and decision-making at farmers’ markets

Journal of Consumer Marketing , Volume 39 (1): 12 – Feb 9, 2022

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References (97)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0736-3761
DOI
10.1108/jcm-07-2020-3999
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Farmers’ markets have grown rapidly in recent years and at the same time consumers increasingly desire to eat healthfully and sustainably. This research aims to analyze the way consumers process information regarding local food claims such as sustainability and organics when shopping for local foods at farmers’ markets.Design/methodology/approachThis research uses ethnographic methods that included interviews with 36 participants, more than 100 hours of participant observation and prolonged engagement over a two and half-year period.FindingsThe findings indicate that there are two dominant types of consumers at the farmers’ market, hedonistic and utilitarian consumers. Hedonistic consumers rely on heuristic cues such as aesthetics, their relationship with the farmer and other peripheral sources of information when making purchase decisions. Utilitarian consumers, by contrast, carefully analyze marketing messages using central route cues and tend to be more conscious of their purchase choices.Practical implicationsThis study will help farmers more effectively position their marketing messages and help consumers be aware how they process information in this space.Originality/valueUnlike previous studies of consumer behavior at farmers’ markets that primarily use survey methods, this study uses observational and ethnographic methods to capture in situ interactions in this complex buying context. Further, while much work has been done on broad concepts of local food and organic preferences, this study provides a more in-depth look at consumer information processing in the farmers’ market space that reflects a mixture of organic and non-organic food.

Journal

Journal of Consumer MarketingEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 9, 2022

Keywords: Consumer behavior; Farmers’ markets; Ethnography; Elaboration likelihood; Organic food; Sustainability; Information processing

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