This study aims to provide empirical evidence that may be used by entrepreneurs who wish to introduce artisan bottled preserved food products in a competitive market place in an effort to create a more sustainable business venture. In essence, entrepreneurs would have access to valuable information regarding the demographic characteristics of consumers who would purchase artisan bottled preserved food products. Since the study also investigated the combinations of product characteristics consumers seek in these kinds of products, as well as the social and environmental influences that affect the consumers` product choice and purchase behaviour, entrepreneurs would be better informed about their business venture.
The study followed a quantitative survey approach. Respondents were recruited through a convenience sampling method. Questionnaires were distributed online by Consulta, a research company to suitable individuals on their data base. Data was retrieved from 939 respondents across South Africa. Data analysis involved descriptive statistics and exploratory factor analysis, specifically Principal Component Analysis (PCA), through which six coherent factors were extracted that may influence consumers choice of products in this product category. Based on calculated means for each of these factors, it was evident that respondents are highly concerned (M=4.11; M=5) about intrinsic product characteristics such as aroma, taste and texture, which represent the sensory characteristics of preserved bottled food products. Of the extrinsic product characteristics, price was relatively important (M=3.50)
In order to determine significant differences within the different demographic groups, ANOVA s were done. Results showed that men are more concerned about extrinsic attributes specifically brand relevance while their female counterparts prioritised intrinsic attributes such as colour and quality as well as sensory attributes. It was evident that African respondents and other population groups (white respondents) are significantly more concerned about extrinsic product characteristics such as brand, price and exclusivity than whites (p?0.05). Lower income consumers were also significantly more concerned about extrinsic product characteristics such as price that intrinsic characteristics such as sensory aspects (p?0.05). Findings could be useful to entrepreneurs in terms of determining their target markets preferences. Particularly useful to entrepreneurs, is the finding that consumers seem willing to try novel brands and that although price is important, higher prices would not discourage them to try artisan bottled preserved food products. The fact that products can be sampled at markets where these products are often sold, is beneficial as consumers regard the sensory attributes as the most important determinant of choice.