Identifying determinants that influence soft drink consumption in selected South African primary schools
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Soft drink consumption and child obesity are increasing in the South African fast-food environment. Parents of primary school children influence their children directly through the choices they make when purchasing a soft drink. Parents would often advise and purchase a soft drink for the following occasions, school lunch box, picnics, sporting events, consumption at home. In this study Coca-Cola Bottlers South Africa (CCBSA) soft drinks has been chosen. CCBSA is the market leader in the soft drink market in South Africa and sells a wide portfolio of products to adults and children. The closest competitor product was also included in this study to ensure the consumer was given the most obvious possible brand choices. Research regarding the correlation between soft drinks and obesity has lately been conducted in large numbers. Research regarding brand loyalty has also been conducted in various FMCG sectors. This study will combine brand loyalty and nutritional value elements, to determine which factor is more valuable when a parent would purchase a soft drink for their primary school kids. A primary and secondary hypothesis was created to measure parents’ perceptions. Moolla and Bisschoff (2014:40) conceptual model was used to measure the nine brand loyalty elements using 39 questions. The construct in this study measures culture orientated brand performance, customer satisfaction, switching costs, relationship proneness, involvement, perceived value, repeat purchase, brand relevance and brand benefits. The researcher added an additional 9 questions to measure nutritional value as a factor and also sugar, kilojoules, saturated fats, flavouring and carbohydrates as a separate measure. The empirical study conducted could be placed in three categories: brand loyalty, nutritional value, and parental influences. Questionnaires were administered to parents of primary school children grade 1 to grade 7 via teachers. A convenience sample of 800 respondents was utilized, with 603 respondents. Access to the children was granted by the principals of three schools in the Gauteng area. The research data was analysed using statistical calculations, including mean scores, frequency distributions, and Cronbach Alpha Coefficient, Confirmatory Factor Analysis and p values. The Confirmatory Factor Analysis for the brand loyalty influences as per Moolla and Bisschoff (2014:40) concluded that the values slightly violate the guideline values, but data is still considered fit and reliable and in an acceptable manner. The results of the primary hypothesis concluded that parents are indeed cognisant of the nutritional value above brand loyalty based on the mean average score, although it is in contradiction with brand selection where Coca-Cola was ranked number 1.The hypothesis that parents do not consider nutritional value prior to purchase is accepted based on mean values and Cronbach Alpha Coefficients. The hypothesis that parents do not consider sugar contents prior to purchasing a soft drink was also rejected, based on mean average scores; it was found that parents do consider sugar before purchasing a soft drink for their children. The hypothesis that parents do not consider kilojoules prior to purchase was accepted, and indicates that parents do not consider kilojoules. The hypothesis that measured the need for a child friendly and healthy soft drink was accepted, indicating the need for a knish soft drink specifically formulated for primary school kids. The results from the secondary hypothesis concluded that culture orientated brand performance was rejected based on a low mean average score indicating that parents do not consider this influence as important. The hypothesis stating that repeat purchase is important was rejected based on mean scores indicating parents do not value this influence as important. The hypothesis of customer satisfaction was accepted based on a high mean average score indicating that parents do value customer satisfaction as an important brand loyalty influence. It can be concluded that more research can be done in schools and other sectors using this model. Soft drink companies could duplicate this study in various sectors to measure brand loyalty and nutritional value elements, with different outcomes based on demographics and income groups.