Student consumers' decision-making process regarding food products containing limited label information
Schutte, Sophia Elizabeth
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Many student consumers obtain food products with a limited amount of label information, namely limited label information products (LLIP), from cafeterias at university campuses. Since food labels serve as an information source during consumers' decision-making process, this study focused on the decision making process of student consumers when exposed to LLIP. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to determine the importance of label information to student consumers as well as the specific label information they regarded as important. Secondly, student consumers' decision-making process when confronted with LLIP was determined, while the results were thirdly applied to an existing decision-making process model. A qualitative research approach was used to obtain information regarding student consumers' decision-making process when confronted with LLIP. The Klipoog Cafeteria of the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus) was used as the study location. Students were questioned on their use of label information using semi-structured interviews as well as a vignette scenario, to determine their food purchase behaviour as well as their decision-making process when purchasing food products with limited label information. The findings indicated that student consumers based their food purchase decisions on internal related strategies as well as product preferences when confronted with LLIP. Results on objective one was that specific minimum label information requirements were important to student consumers with a label interest, such as product and content information when searching for product information. Their search is influenced by physical factors (such as label information and product preference) and personal factors (healthiness and freshness) of the food product. Objective two determined the evaluation of LLIP alternatives and the results were based on product, label and personal related factors. This information was applied to an existing decision-making model to indicate the decision-making process of student consumers when purchasing LLIP that was determined in objective three. The application of the model could be used by retailers and manufacturers to enable a better understanding of student consumers and allow them to cater for their specific needs. Retailers and manufacturers should ensure that food products are labelled according to the label regulations and specifications and supply university cafeterias with such products to ease the student consumers' decision-making process. Furthermore, if the student consumer could choose between food products with the correct label information, they could make healthier, more informed food choices and potentially live a healthier lifestyle.
- Health Sciences