Romanian Consumers’ Willingness to Buy Foodstuffs Containing Food Additives: Results of a Conjoint Study

Viktória Szucs, Erzsébet Szabo, Monica Tarcea, Diána Banati

Abstract


Results of the literature and the authors’ previous studies showed consumers’ high anxiety regarding food additives as well as their high demand for additive-free products in Romania, even at higher prices. Hence, the aim of our work was to analyse the willingness to buy and preference of foodstuffs containing natural and artificial food additives in Romania.

A complex conjoint analysis (rating-based and choice-based) was performed amongst Romanian consumers. Conjoint cards were created from two groups of food additives (‘preservatives’ and ‘packaging gases’), and consisting of two ‘model foodstuffs’ (pre-packed sliced cheese and chips). For the study, three factors were selected: ‘preservatives’ (artificial/natural), ‘packaging gases’ (contains/does not contain) and ‘price’ (average+10%/average+20%). Results were collected via the internet and data were analysed with the help of SPSS Conjoint and XLSTAT softwares.

‘Preservatives’ have a dominant importance and ‘natural preservatives’ have a high utility in shopping decisions. ‘Natural’ compounds have higher importance in the example of foodstuffs thought to contain less food additives (pre-packed sliced cheese), while the presence of ‘packaging gases’ is acceptable to respondents in easy to handle and convenient foodstuffs. With the help of the cluster analysis, the promising target group (‘desire for natural’) characterising additive-free foodstuffs  that contain natural compounds was identified. Restricted comparison of the rating-based and the choice-based analysis showed that the choice-based method was easier to handle and understand for the participants.

Regarding the results, a threefold conclusion was established: the ‘prominence effect’ is greater for the choice-based than the rating-based analysis; the effect of ‘level focusing’ is smaller in the rating-based than in the choice-based analysis; the ‘compatibility effect’ the rating-based analysis resulted higher importance of enriched attributes in contrast to the comparable attribute. Romanian consumers need for ‘natural’ compounds and price-sensitive attitude have to be taken into consideration during the product development and production phases.

 


Keywords


conjoint analysis, food additives, packaging gases, preservatives

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15835/buasvmcn-fst:11336

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