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The influence of consumer involvement on quality signals perception: An empirical investigation in the food sector

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to analyse the moderating effect of consumer involvement level in the influence exerted by perceived quality on consumer perceived risk, trust, satisfaction and loyalty. The paper seeks to conduct this analysis for a protected designation of origin (PDO) food product, the cured ham "Jamón de Teruel". This analysis aims to distinguish perceived quality in terms of intrinsic and extrinsic attributes of PDO. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Data were obtained using a structured questionnaire. Specifically, consumers were asked to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement with a series of statements based on a seven-point Likert scale. After completion of fieldwork, an analytic process (exploratory and confirmatory reliability analysis) was performed to obtain 441 valid questionnaires. A multi-sample model was applied to analyse the effect level of consumer involvement in the proposed model. Findings ‐ The results suggest that the influence of quality attributes on consumers' perceived risk, trust, satisfaction and loyalty is substantially different between consumers with a high involvement level and consumers with low involvement. In addition, substantial differences were also found in the influence of intrinsic and extrinsic quality attributes on the model being analysed. The results of the analysis show that for the group of highly involved consumers the influence of both intrinsic and extrinsic perceived quality on the consumers' loyalty level is clearly higher. Practical implications ‐ Managers of PDO food products need to understand how consumer involvement level regarding their products influences consumers' decision-making processes. Thus, PDO managers should take advantage of the situation that those highly involved consumers in this kind of product are more receptive to their advertisements. Moreover, promotion of PDO food products based on the quality, tradition and know-how of certain brands may make the consumer reach higher attention levels in an easier manner, so that their loyalty levels towards the brands will be reinforced. Originality/value ‐ The paper analyses the moderating effect of consumer involvement of a traditional PDO food product. There is a lack of literature that focuses on the influence of consumer involvement of food products in consumer behaviour patterns. The paper tries to advance this important research line.
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Keywords: Consumers; Customer loyalty; Food products; Quality; Risk management; Trust

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-10-24

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