Friday, January 28, 2011

Surveys of mid-Atlantic consumers conducted by Penn State researchers part 5

Another area for the PSU researchers to study was the effect of children on household preferences for locally grown and certified organic produce.

The responses suggest that a greater percentage of individuals who had children in the household selected options that emphasized “Certified Organic,” while individuals without children were more likely to select options that included “Locally Grown.” For example, the first set of options (where both were “Locally Grown”) shows a greater percentage of consumers with children (65.7%) compared to those without children (60.3%) selected the option that included “Certified Organic.” In Set 2 (both “Certified Organic”) and Set 3 (neither “Certified Organic”), those with no children in the household preferred the “Locally Grown” option by 5 to 6 percentage points.

One explanation for this difference is that individuals may have the tendency to purchase organics for their children to eat but they are not necessarily purchasing it for themselves to consume.

To read more about this survey, please read the press release.

As an ag entrepreneur, how can this information be used to position your food products for these demographic groups? If you sell organics, are most of your organic purchases from parents? How do the terms "certified organic" and "locally grown" affect consumers' perception of your products?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Surveys of mid-Atlantic consumers conducted by Penn State researchers part 4

In the continued Penn State research, consumers in metropolitan areas of the mid-Atlantic were surveyed on what types of food products they purchased, where they purchased these products, and what variables have affected their purchasing behaviors.

Survey respondents were asked to indicate which products they would be more likely to purchase if the product did or did not have a certain label (i.e. natural, certified-organic, locally grown, sustainably grown, green). There was an upward trend in both education and income levels indicating that they would still purchase products without the given labels.

To read more about this topic, go to the Mid-Atlantic Specialty Crops website and click "Newsroom".

Why are consumers of higher income levels and education responding this way? It may be because these consumers are choosing products because of other aspects besides the primary label. For example, these consumers may be less influenced by claims made by the product's primary label but more interested in the ingredient list.

As an ag entrepreneur, what do you think about this research? Do you have any of the above mentioned labels on your product? How do you think these labels are perceived by consumers of higher income and education?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Surveys of mid-Atlantic consumers conducted by Penn State researchers part 3

In the research conducted by Penn State, participants were surveyed on what types of food products they purchased, where they purchased these products, and what variables may have affected their purchasing behaviors. Two questions specifically asked participants to provide an approximate percentage of how much (quantity) of their average weekly food purchases consisted of “fresh” products versus “processed” products, and what percentage of these weekly food purchases could be categorized as
“meat,” “vegetables,” “grains,” “fruit,” “dairy,” “snacks,” and “sweets.”

Survey participants reported that approximately half of their food purchases could be categorized as “fresh”. Approximately 36% of their purchases could also be categorized as “fruit” and “vegetable” products, while “meat” products were reported as the majority of food purchases (20.2%).

Notable trends include differences between:
1) age groups – A greater percentage of the older age groups purchased meat and vegetables than younger age groups
2) education level – A greater percentage of the more educated groups purchased vegetables and fruits and a smaller percentage of the same groups purchased snacks than less educated groups
3) gender - A greater percentage of males purchased meat but fewer purchased vegetables and fruit than females


To read more about this research, please see the press release.

As an ag entrepreneur, how does this research affect your marketing? Have you seen these trends in your own sales?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Surveys of mid-Atlantic consumers conducted by Penn State researchers part 2

Continuing with the series on the PSU survey, more research has been released regarding produce purchasing behaviors of different age groups. (Sorry for the long pause between blog posts. I was on maternity leave.)

One question focused on the origin of common fruits and vegetables available at mid-Atlantic produce retailers. Participants were provided with a list of 46 fruits and vegetables including such items as apples, bananas, mushrooms, potatoes, and watermelon and were asked to indicate which of these fruits and vegetables are grown in the mid-Atlantic region.

Overall, 38 of the 46 fruits and vegetables listed were shown to exhibit significant differences between the age groups in regards to what produce they believe is grown in the mid-Atlantic region.






Some important findings include:
1) Generally, the older a participant was, the more likely he or she selected the correct fruits and vegetables, meaning that more of the older participants selected fruits and vegetables actually grown in the Mid-Atlantic, as well as NOT selecting fruits and vegetables that are NOT grown in the Mid-Atlantic. The younger age groups tended to select more incorrect responses than the older age groups.

2) The 21-24 year old age group was the exception to this generalization, as more of the participants from this group would select more fruits and vegetables to be grown in the mid-Atlantic region.

To read the full press release, please visit http://bit.ly/htN67X

As an ag entrepreneur, how does this information affect you? Will you use advertising to teach your customers about what produce is from the mid-Atlantic region? Do you think that incorrectly identifying the fruit's origin affects the purchasing behaviors of consumers?