Characteristics of the Product
Product alternatives on the market are quite diverse. Each carries certain characteristics. Evaluating certain criteria the user selects one or another product. Evaluative criteria are the dimensions used to judge the merits of competing options. The pleasure of eating (sensory hedonism) is the basis of food choice. People do not buy food they do not like, although they often associated product quality with the brand, the country of origin, the price and the venue.
Consumers use the information provided through labeling, product claims, brand, product names, and food tastiness to make their choice in favor of their health (Mueller and Szolnoki, 2010; Paasovaara et al., 2012; Vranesevic and Stancec, 2003). They are even willing to compromise on the nutritional value underestimating the number of calories contained when these are organic products. The reason is that organic products are perceived as healthier than conventional ones (Schuldt and Schwarz, 2010).
In a study, Lee and Yun (2015) found that a major driver of purchase intentions to organic food is utilitarian attitudes established by favorable perceptions of the nutritional content and ecological welfare attributes. Therefore, it is important to raise consumer awareness of organic foods and their environmental impact and to reduce the high level of uncertainty for the accuracy of the attributes of organic foods. Moral considerations can be a powerful force that drives people to buy organic foods (Klockner and Ohms, 2009).
An empirical study by Pohjanheimo and Sandell (2009) showed that consumers, who considered the food choice motives such as natural content, ethical concern, health, and sensory appeal to be important to them found yogurts with sourer, thicker, and more genuine flavor more pleasant. In addition, these consumers found the sweetness of the evaluated yogurts too high. Brand information significantly increased the liking for domestic yogurts but did not alter the main connections between food choice motives and liking. This could encourage product development and advertising to connect product-related characteristics to consumer-related characters.
The origin of the product can be a significant characteristic when buying food products and combined with other attributes or characteristics influence evaluation. In recent years there has been an increased interest in locally produced products, for various reasons. While some consumers prefer local food as a more environmentally and climate friendly alternative, other consumers view local food from a rather hedonistic viewpoint as fresher, safer and healthier than imported products. The predominant expectation or belief related to local food was that it is tastier and of higher quality in general. Hence, taste is the most important driver when purchasing food, while the local origin of a product is “just” a premium (Feldmann and Hamm, 2015).
Several studies show that consumers are willing to pay a premium price for domestic and local food (Braghieri et al., 2014; Lusk et al., 2006; Roosen et al., 2003). With reference to the market strategies and in particular to the possibility that people pay a premium price for some milk attributes, a study found an inverse relationship between the quantity consumed and the willingness to pay (Tempesta and Vecchiato, 2013).