Consumer motivations and the impact of brand on purchasing preferences of fresh beef



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A survey was completed by consumers in three geographical regions across the United States to determine the motivational factors affecting consumer purchase decisions for fresh beef steaks (n = 1,370) and fresh beef roasts (n = 1,361). Demographic characteristics and beef preference variables obtained included: city, gender, age, occupation, number of adults and children in the household, income and education as well as response to a statement regarding fresh beef liking, beef consumption and preference for cooking degree of doneness. Consumers were asked to indicate how important the following factors were in determining why they purchased fresh beef steaks and roasts: tenderness, juiciness, flavor, product consistency, ease of preparation, nutritional value, natural, organic and price per pound. A scale was provided with one labeled as not important at all and ten was labeled very important. Consumer ratings for flavor, as a motivator, reported the highest means for both steaks (8.7) and roasts (8.5) on a 10-point scale. This was followed by the importance of tenderness and juiciness. Overall palatability factors were most important followed by price for both steaks and roasts. Ratings for the importance of natural and organic as a factor in product purchasing were lower than all other motivators. When differences were reported by gender and age, consumer ratings by women were higher (P < 0.05) than ratings by men and generally increased as age increased. Also, motivator ratings generally decreased as level of education increased. Consumers were asked the location where they purchase the majority of fresh beef steaks and the greatest response was for supermarket/grocery store with 72.7%. Consumers responded to a question for which is a higher quality product, USDA Select or USDA Choice, 42.7% answered correctly. When consumers were asked if USDA Choice and USDA Select were fresh beef brands, 18.8% responded yes, 55.8% said yes and 25.4% reported that they did not know. Consumers were asked if they purchased fresh beef based on brand and results show 16.9% said yes while 83.1% said no. Consumers obviously realize the presence of branded food products, but branded beef products are more complex in their variability. Also, consumers do not fully understand the information regarding the current grading system and beef product variation. Increased consumer education for beef quality characteristics will allow the industry to develop improved marketing strategies to best fit the needs of the consumer. Beef motivating factors and demographics do influence consumer purchasing decisions for fresh beef steak. Results from this study can be used to help identify factors to positively influence purchasing decisions within targeted market segments.



Market survey, Beef, Consumer, Brand