1 Department of Management - MAPP - Centre for Research on Value Creation in the Food Sector, Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 University of Bonn4 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
The case of seafood
Although seafood is considered to be a healthy food choice, the recommended consumption level of two servings per week is still not reached in most countries. Previous research has identified potential barriers of seafood consumption, including purchase and consumption convenience, but it is still unclear to what degree consumer choice is affected by convenience relative to known choice drivers such as price, species and region of origin. This study contributes to filling this research gap by analyzing how consumers’ in-store choice of ready-packaged aquaculture oysters is driven by convenience factors (opened versus unopened presentation format, packaging format and accompaniments with or without visual serving suggestions) relative to traditionally examined demand factors of price, origin, species, health, environmental and quality claims. A total of 1,718 Australian oyster consumers participated in an online choice experiment with visual product stimuli to simulate their choice of oysters in a retail store. Considering preference heterogeneity respondents’ choices were analyzed with a scale adjusted latent class model and six different consumer segments differing in their preferences were identified. Over all respondents price, presentation format and species were the most important choice drivers, while packaging format and claims only had a minor impact on consumer choice. Origin and accompaniments were found to be important for some consumer segments. These results provide recommendations for policy makers as well as seafood marketers and are in line with the presented literature in that convenience seems to be an important driver which can be manipulated in order to increase seafood consumption. Consumers strongly prefer the ‘ready to eat’ half shell open oysters over closed oysters, although those are saver and keep fresh longer. Visual serving suggestions and accompaniments in form of easy to prepare flavor sachets were found to positively increase choice likelihood.