During the last years, a strong consumer interest appears for food products with low caloric content ("light" products). Due to their popularity, the real success of these products in the marketplace is a worth-investigating issue. The creation of buyers that are loyal to light food brands constitutes an indication of this success. The present work aims to investigate consumer loyalty to light dairy (milk and yoghurt) brands. First, basic Brand Performance Measures (BPMs) are empirically estimated to describe market structure of the dairy categories under investigation. Then, the Dirichlet model (Ehrenberg et al., 2004) was fitted to the empirical data, pointing out to theoretical category loyalty measures. Grouping of the dairy categories under investigation according to their purchase frequency and brand penetration then follows. The work concludes with the overall estimation of consumer loyalty to the light dairy sub-category compared to other sub-categories that exist within the wider dairy categories under investigation. The total market share of light brands is found to be directly comparable with that of full fat brands. The importance of the light sub-category is indicated by both the empirical BPMs and the theoretical Dirichlet-type loyalty measures in both milk and yoghurt categories, since consumers appeared to be more loyal to light brand names. However, while the marketing differentiation strategy of the light sub-category seems to be particularly successful in creating loyal buyers, it must be examined within the wider category that it belongs. This conclusion is justified by the fact that, in the grouping of categories that has been attempted, not a clear trend followed by all light brands has been observed. On the contrary, light brand exhibited diverse loyalty behaviour.
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14th International Conference on Corporate and Marketing Communications, 2009