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Consumers' experience of food products: effects of value activation and price cues

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Abstract:

Marketing managers responsible for marketing food products face many challenges as they strive to understand and manage consumers' dynamic and multifaceted food product experiences. Past research has resulted in a lot of knowledge for understanding these experiences. However, it appears that few studies have approached the affiliation between consumer value activation and actual food product experiences. In addition, the effect of price level on the experienced food product quality deserves attention. Hence, the focus of this research is to explore the role of value activation and price in food product experiences. We present two hypotheses. First, suggest that activation of consumers' personal values leads to positive product experiences, i.e. sensory evaluations, product images and purchase intentions, if the product is congruent with that activated central value. Second, we propose that high price leads to more positive experience concerning food quality. The findings of our study reveal that value activation brings about a significant increase in sensory evaluation. However, our hypothesis of a relation between high price and increased quality experience was not supported. The study provides valuable insights to practitioners, as the findings support the idea that values central to consumers can be activated through product messages.

Consumer value activation, consumer food product experience and price-quality relations are current topics of discussion. Consumers' beliefs and expectations influence their judgements of products and services. For example, consumers often believe, and therefore, judge lower-priced items to be of lower quality. First, we demonstrate in an empirical study that the promise of added value activating consumer-specific values leads to a more positive sensory evaluation, a better product image, increased purchase intention and a lower price sensitivity. Secondly, higher price leads to a more positive food experience of product. The findings indicate that consumer value activation systematically increases the product experience in the sensory evaluation made by that specific consumer group. Higher price and quality expectations lead to a more complex result.

Keywords: FOOD PRODUCT EXPERIENCE; PRICE; SENSORY EVALUATION; VALUE ACTIVATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/147539208X290307

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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