Improving Customer Orientation Within the Fresh Meat Supply Chain: A Focus on Assurance Schemes
Eighty percent of primary food producers are currently involved in assurance schemes (McDougal 2000), the largest group of which belong to assurance labels sponsored by producer-led groups (e.g. Quality Meat Scotland, English Beef & Lamb Executive). Originally designed to enable producers to provide assurances of meat safety and animal welfare to consumers, this paper evaluates the extent to which producer-led assurance groups have adopted a true market orientation. Both in-depth, semi-structured interviews and a postal questionnaire with Scottish meat consumers were carried out. Subsequently, using structural equation modelling techniques, causal influences upon producer-led assurance label purchase behaviour were determined. The results conclude that producer-led logos are the preferred assurance labels to be purchased by consumers and that the most significant influences upon purchase behaviour are attitudes, past behaviour, assurance label knowledge and personal identity traits. Moreover, weaknesses are identified in terms of producer-led groups' marketing communication strategies to consumers. Implications of those weaknesses in relation to improving market orientation are then discussed.
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