Consumer preference for novelty in processed foods: a developing country perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Purpose: The paper aims to explore consumer preferences for novel and other quality attributes in processed foods. It focuses on preferences for product origin, certification on food quality and standards and tradeoffs between novelty (fortification and highly processed) and other quality attributes. Design/methodology/approach: In total, 317 consumers were randomly selected at a high-end supermarket and a traditional local market in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Stated and revealed preference approaches were used to investigate their preferences for different attributes in processed foods. A hypothetical choice experiment was used to assess consumer preference for six baby food attributes and the tradeoffs between the attributes, while the revealed preference method included questions on consumer's actual processed food purchasing and consumption habits. In addition, consumers were asked a series of hierarchical questions assessing the motivation underpinning their choices for different products attributes. Findings: When making choices for processed food attributes, consumers are reluctant to choose novel technologies and have a strong preference for natural, nutritious, tasty and quality processed food attributes. However, they are willing to forego their preference for naturalness and to overcome their reluctance to trying novel technologies when the novelty is embedded with such quality benefits as nutrition, but not so when the embedded benefit is convenience. They are also willing to trade off their preference for nutrition for a sensory taste. This suggests that micronutrient deficiencies can be reduced among women and children under five by employing the appropriate strategies in processed food formulation. Further, the preference for product origin highlights the opportunity for national brands to fill the gap created by the increasing demand for processed foods in Tanzania. Research limitations/implications: The study claims a developing country perspective but is only representing consumers in one city in a developing country. However, this study speculates that consumers with representative characteristics in such context are likely to behave the same. Furthermore, although this study controlled for a hypothetical bias, having a hypothetical choice experiment with non-shoppers (non-purchasers) could have triggered the hypothetical bias, making participants concentrate more on non-price than price attributes. Originality/value: The paper offers a developing country perspective on consumers' preferences for novelty in processed foods and tradeoffs with other quality attributes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)429-446
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Certification, Consumer preference, Developing countries, Fortification, Novelty, Nutrition, Processed food, Product origin

ID: 241095828