Purpose – The paper aims to measure the degree of influence that attributes such as price, origin, type and production system have on Spanish consumers when purchasing cheese, while also analysing various cheese differentiation strategies. Design/methodology/approach – The methodology consisted in a survey of 420 Madrid (Spain) cheese consumers during the month of December 2006, whose preferences were determined through several multivariate techniques. Findings – The first result derived from this paper is the negative influence of the organic production system attribute on the cheese consumer preference structure. Therefore, this attribute becomes an inadequate differentiation strategy for cheese, while origin is the most adequate differentiation. In this sense, three consumer segments are identified: the first, shops for cheese mainly by type, the second, by a combination of origin, type and price and the third, by an origin of cheese. In this sense, except for the first segment, where competition by a type of cheese from other places could endanger the local market, possible strategies would be to continue emphasizing origin in a traditional approach. Originality/value – The paper highlights organic differentiation in products already differentiated and accepted by the consumer does not always contribute additional utility to the consumer. It does not matter whether this differentiation and acceptance comes from origin and/or traditional production, as is the case of Manchego cheese.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 10, 2010
Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Organic foods; Marketing; Market segmentation; Spain
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