1 Department of Marketing and Statistics, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 MAPP - Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University4 Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre - Aarhus BSS Communication, Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University5 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University6 Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre - Aarhus BSS Communication, Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
German consumers say one thing and do the other. They say they are willing to pay extra for fresh pork in order to get quality meat. But they act quite differently when they shop in the supermarket and the price becomes a decisive factor. At least that is what most German retail buyers of pork think. A recent MAPP study looked at how German retailers perceive themselves, how they perceive and interpret the world around them (their customers, competitors and suppliers etc.) and which quality and documentation they demand when they buy fresh pork. However, not all retail buyers share the view that the consumers want to buy pork at low prices only. A small group believes that selected segments are willing to pay more for better pork. The study indicates that retail chains to a large degree create their surroundings. The chains believe they offer the consumers good quality pork at competitive prices, they use low prices in their marketing and are in many ways hereby encouraging the consumers to be price-minded. It can be discussed whether retail chains actually know enough about consumer behaviour to draw conclusions about what the consumers want and how much they are willing to pay for fresh pork. The study shows that retailers' knowledge about consumers mostly is built on scanner data. They have seldom carried out studies themselves. As a result they are easily confirmed in their belief about consumers. The chains' identity and perception of the surrounding world is reflected in their behaviour. It is therefore important that suppliers of pork make an effort to get acquainted with the way retailers experience themselves and their market. Suppliers must as a result adjust their marketing to reflect the identity of the supermarket chain. They can also try to influence the chains' conception of the market to make them correspond to the suppliers' perceptions and products. From the retailers' point of view, it is important to be aware of one's identity to be able to evaluate whether the chain actually is different from its competitors and how the surrounding world should be interpreted. This will help to keep one's eyes open to alternative interpretations of the surrounding world, market, competitors and unexploited possibilities.