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Title: Exploring consumers' quality perceptions of local NI food and drink produce
Author: Williamson, Rachel
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 061X
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2017
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The Northern Ireland (NI) agri-food industry has faced challenges in re-building consumer confidence regarding the quality and authenticity of food/drink products. However, increasing demand for authentic, high quality produce, paired with a renewed sense of food patriotism, presents new growth opportunities for local/artisan food/drink products to be promoted for their unique quality credentials. The literature revealed that extrinsic quality cues are an invaluable marketing tool used by consumers as ‘value signals’, ‘risk relievers’ and 'informational stimuli' when shopping, to make a more informed quality decision. Yet evidence pertaining to the relative importance of extrinsic quality cues is inconsistent, owing to limited understanding of and ability to analyse the consumer quality perception process. This research aimed to determine consumer perceptions of extrinsic quality cues used to promote local produce and develop a conceptual model of the most effective extrinsic cues for the promotion of quality in local NI products. This exploratory research employed a three-stage mixed-methods approach consisting of a scoping exercise, consumer focus groups and an experimental study using eye-tracking technology measuring participants’ visual attention to a select number of extrinsic cues, informed by stages 1 and 2. Findings suggest that packaging cues have the most significant effect on consumer quality perceptions and purchase decisions while shopping. Specifically, extrinsic cues pertaining to transparency, colour and design, taste, provenance, storytelling, brand name, nutritional information/claims were most effective, particularly when displayed on FOP. This research makes an important theoretical and methodological contribution to the perceived quality and marketing literature, thereby informing the development of more effective and targeted marketing strategies to engage the consumer. Furthermore, through gaining a more holistic understanding of the quality perception process, this research proposes a number of Industry and policy recommendations to assist the NI agri-food industry in its promotion of quality local produce.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available