Consumers' quality perception is based on individual evaluative judgments. Meat is a food category where consumers' quality perception is particularly difficult, among other things because meat is mostly sold unbranded. Through interviews with buyers of branded beef steaks, the study investigates how consumers employ brand information in combination with other quality cues to form quality expectations in the shop and how quality is experienced later when the product is ingested. Results show the brand to serve as a basis both for expected eating quality and for expected health quality. Despite the presence of a brand, the correspondence between expected and experienced quality remains moderate. Product familiarity seems to influence the quality perception process as well, with low familiarity consumers relying significantly more on the brand as a quality cue.
Food Quality and Preference, 2004, Vol 15, Issue 1, p. 65-75