Purpose – The aim is to investigate the choice and experience attributes of core – sweet (cookie) and savoury (cracker) – biscuits of a high premium, luxury or indulgent nature to investigate the possible opportunity for organic or other more healthily perceived product option developments. Design/methodology/approach – The approach taken is a qualitative focus group study involving a series of core user adult consumer groups, aged between 25 and the late 1960s, in a southern county of the UK. Findings – The adult consumption of biscuits involves a process that aspires towards an overall “better‐life”, sensual experience by momentarily escaping the everyday realm and aiming to emulate either a perceived “real” or a mythical, largely past‐related style of existence. This is often associated with meanings inherent in the terms “natural”, “rural”, “home‐baked” and “traditional” as well as “elegant” associations and production and selling agency values around small or local, pre‐modern source structures. Organic labelling is found to have a negative “horn” effect to buyers by countering other desired associations. Research limitations/implications – The study used a small sample in the county of Dorset in the south of England, but these are implications for new product development and marketing of luxury snacks. Practical implications – Alternative areas of marketing focus to rational appeal are suggested that could help promote healthier biscuit choice options. Originality/value – Irrational ideal and unreal aspects of consumer appeal are found to feature the creation of imagined or re‐created “moments of perfection” in a process of cognitive suspension.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 10, 2010
Keywords: Organic foods; Consumer behaviour; Processed foods; United Kingdom; Personal health
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