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The purpose of this study was to understand the behavior of bakery consumers as well as their purchase decision process. A survey was carried out in two stages. The first was a qualitative approach, based in interview involving 10 proprietors and/or managers of bakeries and 10 consumers based in Belo Horizonte, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The second stage consisted of a quantitative and descriptive characterization. A survey was also performed involving 465 bakery consumers. Results show that consumers attend bakeries mostly to buy perishable food or food for immediate consumption. Besides, the consumers demonstrated positive mental associations about bread, bakeries and baked products, including those produced by other companies than bakeries. In addition, consumers are not willing to pay more for baked products than for products from other industries, although they have been showing preference for baked products. This preference was based on the following parameters: a) minimum or basic attributes; b) differentiating attributes for the general public and; c) differentiating attributes for specific publics. Therefore, the work includes various management and academic implications.
The behavior of bakery consumers... 1
Organizações Rurais & Agroindustriais, Lavras, v. 18, n. 1, p. 1-12, 2016
The purpose of this study was to understand the behavior of bakery consumers as well as their purchase decision process. A survey
was carried out in two stages. The rst was a qualitative approach, based in interview involving 10 proprietors and/or managers
of bakeries and 10 consumers based in Belo Horizonte, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The second stage consisted of a quantitative
and descriptive characterization. A survey was also performed involving 465 bakery consumers. Results show that consumers
attend bakeries mostly to buy perishable food or food for immediate consumption. Besides, the consumers demonstrated positive
mental associations about bread, bakeries and baked products, including those produced by other companies than bakeries. In
addition, consumers are not willing to pay more for baked products than for products from other industries, although they have been
showing preference for baked products. This preference was based on the following parameters: a) minimum or basic attributes; b)
differentiating attributes for the general public and; c) differentiating attributes for specic publics. Therefore, the work includes
various management and academic implications.
Gustavo Quiroga Souki
Centro Universitario - UNA
Viviane Costa Reis
Centro Universitario – UNA
Luiz Rodrigo Cunha Moura
Centro Universitario - UNA
Recebido em: 09/07/2015. Aprovado em: 27/10/2015.
Avaliado pelo sistema double blind review.
Avaliador cientíco: Daniel Cavalho de Rezende
Keywords: Baked goods, bread, costumer buying decision, food, willingness to pay.
The history about bread dates back to ancient Egypt,
for over 10,000; where they used to crop grains along the Nile
River for bred production. Although such food was used as
compensation forms at work, they were found to be basic and
showed a social importance (Franklin, 2003). It believes that
for around the year 2500 BC, bakers began producing the rst
fermented breads. However, according to Ramos (2011), the
oldest evidence of fermented bread consumption was also
found in ancient Egypt and date back to around 3000 BC.
In addition, some historians state that the yeast was used for
bread-making purposes in the prehistoric period.
Bread production became a profession, and its sale
in large scale gave rise to bakeries. Santos (2012) points
out that bakeries spread throughout the world in the twelfth
century, the occasion on which France became the world
center for the manufacture of luxury breads. At the same
time, new baking techniques and bakery improvements
were studied in Italy. Thus, Italians are found to be res-
ponsible for bakery business in Brazil, which established
typical bakeries in the nineteenth century; rstly in the
State of Minas Gerais, and later throughout the country.
Bakeries have passed through several changes from
their appearance to the present. These changes were in
terms of physical structure, production systems, kind of
products, service that they provide, and many others. Some
of these changes result from a natural response of bakeries
when they face demands resulting from transformations
occurring in the market. Souki (2003) points out that
today’s world changes extend to the political, economic,
cultural, social and technological spheres, resulting in
new market trends, as well as affecting food consumers
and their consumption pattern. This author also states that
such changes urge organizations to review their structures,
operating strategies and management paradigms so that
they can continue competitive.
The review for the current state of understanding
of bakery consumers behavior shows that there are concer-
ns for academics so far, although the bread is a product con-
sumed for millennia ago. This statement may be evidenced
by means of various studies, such as that performed by Li
and Wang (2014). These authors performed a case study in
Taiwanese bakeries, approaching about the existing links
between services quality and consumers behavior. Other
example is a survey carried out in Switzerland by Aerni
(2011) about attitudes that affect the choice of consumer
for breads containing genetically modied components.
In Indonesia, Sekarwati (2013) studied the behavior of
bread consumer, especially the perceived value and the
repurchase behavior. Besides, Anggie and Haryanto (2012)
SOUKI, G. Q. et al.2
Organizações Rurais & Agroindustriais, Lavras, v. 18, n. 1, p. 1-12, 2016
analyzed the effect of olfactory, approach behavior, and
experimental marketing to ward purchase intent also in
Indonesia. In addition, Stefan (2012) emphasized the
factors that inuence the bread buying process concerning
the buying behavior in Romania.
In the Brazilian context, there are some examples of
newsletters such as that performed by Tavares and Castro
(2013), which carried out an analysis about how produc-
tion strategies are set up at the bakery industry. Besides,
Frutuoso et al. (2013, p. 269) performed an exploratory
study on innovation as a growth factor for a small bake-
ry company, seeking to identify the major innovations
and growth strategies associated with entrepreneurial
Therefore, considering the state of understanding
of bakery consumers, the present work aims to understand
about their behavior, specically the following:
– To identify the reasons why consumers are led
to attend bakeries;
– To check about sources of data used here, and
groups that affect the process of choosing bakeries and
products that they sell;
– To determine the relevant attributes of consumers
during the purchase decision process;
– To ascertain how is the consumers image with
regard to bakeries and baked products, including those
produced by them as well as those industrialized in other
– To verify preferences of consumer and their
willingness to pay more for given bakery goods.
2.1 Consumer Behavior and Buying Decision Process
According to Blackwell, Miniard and Engel (2013,
p. 06), consumer behavior has traditionally been dened
as a basket of options consisting of activities by means
of which people obtain, consume and offer products and
The bakery sector is contained among the largest
industries of Brazil, which consist of approximately 63,000
companies that attended about 41.5 million customers in
2014 (ITPC, 2015). This sector consists of bakery indus-
try, as well as bakeries, which are considered to be retail
stores particularly for food selling. In addition, the bakery
industry environment shows a erce competition every
day, due to the entry of new bakeries and other compet-
itors such as supermarkets, grocery stores, coffee shops,
bars, convenience stores, and many others. The food con-
sumers, however, become more demanding (REZENDE;
WILKINSON; REZENDE, 2005; SOUKI, 2003), spurring
bakeries to develop a continuous improvement process.
Thus, reviews for the current state of understanding of
bakery sector has approached about various consumer be-
havior facets (GRILLO, 2014; JUNG, 2014; LITVINOVA;
MOROZOVA; YATSECHKO, 2015; SILVA , et al., 2014;.
Regarding the consumer behavior eld of study,
researchers such as Bevilacqua (2013); Sata (2013);
Moreira, Chauvel and Silva (2013); Silva, Pine and De
Muylder (2014); Lima Filho et al. (2014); and Dias et al.
(2014), described the model for the purchasing decisions
process, outlined in Blackwell, Miniard and Engel (2013).
The model developed by Blackwell, Miniard and
Engel (2013, p. 73), shows that the purchase decision pro-
cess consists of the following stages: (i) recognition of the
need; (ii) information search process ; (iii) evaluation of
pre-purchase alternatives; (iv) purchase; (v) consumption;
(vi) evaluation of post-consumer and disposal stages. Li
and Wang (2014) researched about the buying decision
process in bakeries that adopted this model, and they also
found that consumers goes typically through these stages,
although they are affected by environmental factors (cul-
ture, social class, reference groups, etc.) and individual
factors (beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, etc.).
Fagundes et al. (2012), Santos et al. (2013),
Medeiros, Nogami and Vieira (2013), Moraes and Mattar
(2014), and Aragon et al. (2014) point out about the
existence of ve roles played by individuals during the
purchase decision process. In the same sense, Blackwell,
Miniard and Engel (2013) highlighted that the initiator is
the person who suggests the buying of a product or service,
and gathers information that help in the decision making
process. The inuencer is the person whose views inu-
ence the decision making process. The decision-maker is
who decides what, how and where to buy a given product
or service. The buyer is who makes the purchase, and the
user is the person who uses or consumes the product or
The rst stage of the purchase decision process is,
according to Blackwell, Miniard and Engel (2013, p. 74),
the need recognition, which “occurs when the individual
feels the difference between what he or she perceives to
be the ideal versus the current state of things.”
According to Sheth, Mittal and Newman (2001),
the identication of the need may arise from internal
or external stimuli. The internal stimuli start with the
The behavior of bakery consumers... 3
Organizações Rurais & Agroindustriais, Lavras, v. 18, n. 1, p. 1-12, 2016
perception of the discomfort of physical and/or psycho-
logical nature, which becomes impulses. The external
stimuli are impulses caused by external agents, revealing
a need that was not previously perceived. These authors
also describe that external stimuli are usually caused by
market actors such as advertisements, advertising or inu-
ential groups that are found along with the individual such
as neighbors, co-workers or family members. For baked
goods containing conventional, organic and / or genetically
modied components, Aerni (2011) shows the inuence of
the public opinion, media and social groups in the buying
process and consumer willingness to pay.
Giraldi and Tagnin (2013), and Alves, La Falce
and De Muylder (2013) well describe the importance of
these stimuli, which is the trigger for all other stages in
the on-screen model for the purchase decision process.
The second stage is known as for information
search. In this stage, the consumer can perform searches on
his memory (internal search) or external sources of infor-
mation (external search). The internal search occurs when
consumers demand information on their prior knowledge
about products, services, companies, brands or businesses
acquired over time, including the buying and consumption
past experience. The external search is characterized by
information found from the search carried out in various
sources such as radio, newspapers, magazines, television,
Internet, billboards, and many others. In addition, sources
for the external search also consists of relatives, friends,
co-workers, experts and other opinion-forming groups
able to inuence consumers decisions (BLACKWELL;
The third step in the buying decision process is
called evaluation of alternatives. Souki et al. (2010), Kalil
and Gonçalves Filho (2012), Lobler, Kings and Bolzan
(2014) state that this stage attracts attention of researchers
to develop their work on the purchase decision process.
However, Blackwell, Miniard and Engel (2013) point out
that the value and past experiences inuence the choice
of consumers. Therefore, evaluations obtained from the
memory or new reviews, based on information obtained by
means of internal or external search, help in the consumers
choice process.
Regarding the competition strategy at the baked
goods market, Tavares and Castro (2013) highlight the im-
portant of the perception of buyers about a given product,
for example about its price, quality and services provided.
At this stage, images and mental associations are
used by consumers to affect the choice process of prod-
ucts, whereas the quality and value are crucial in their
purchasing options (RECHE et al., 2013). Grasseli and
Souki (2007) recognized the existence of diverse per-
spectives, under which the subject image can be treated.
However, they were based on the denition of image that
refers to associations occurring in the human mind when
thinking about a certain word or specic topics. Brito et
al. (2011); Silva, Merlo and Nagano (2012); Milan et al.
(2013); Reche et al. (2013); Miranda et al. (2014) and
Zhang et al. (2015) well approached about this perspec-
tive of image. Thus, it found that, as the image consists of
personal references and these references differ from person
to person, an individual who has lived an experience or
received a given information about a subject; he can have
an image different of that a person who has lived other
experiences and accessed distinct information has.
In the stage of purchase, among other related
decisions, consumers decide what, when and where to
buy, as well as how to pay for it (Blackwell, Miniard and
Engel, 2013). Other aspect related to this stage is to eval-
uate whether there was a total planning before making a
purchase, a partial or no planning, ie, if the purchase was
made on impulse on not. Torres and Penagos (2013), also
used the model outlined in Blackwell, Miniard and Engel
to emphasize the aspects related to this stage, seeking to
characterize buyers found in supermarkets and hypermar-
kets of Colombia.
In the consumption stage, marketing professionals
and companies look for the understanding of behavior
objectives, nal consumer and envision future growth op-
portunities about the location and form by mean of which a
given product was obtained, as well as the quantity that was
consumed (BLACKWELL; MINIARD; ENGEL, 2013).
In the post-purchase evaluation stage, the con-
sumer denes when, where and how will consume a given
product, as well as the relating quantity. At this stage, the
consumer experiences a feeling of satisfaction or dissatis-
faction, as it precedes the consumption and experimenta-
tion of the product or service purchased (BLACKWELL;
MINIARD; ENGEL, 2013). After consumption, the person
evaluates the product or service purchased. This step of the
buying process has already been investigated (Henderson
and Lyons, 2013); Basso et al., 2013).
Disposal is the seventh and nal stage of the buying
decision process. Opinions of consumers about this stage
differ one another, and include the total or partial disposal,
recycling and further resale. For some types of products,
parts of products such as packages, guides and manuals
can be discarded at the expense of the product as a whole
SOUKI, G. Q. et al.4
Organizações Rurais & Agroindustriais, Lavras, v. 18, n. 1, p. 1-12, 2016
2.2 Willingness To Pay
The concept of Willingness to Pay (WTP) refers
to the maximum amount of products, services, professio-
nals, and others that consumers claim to be willing to pay
for (MOULD QUEVEDO, et al., 2009). This maximum
payable amount may be inuenced by the culture and the
needs, physiological as well as a psychological welfare of
consumers in obtaining and consuming a given product.
Demand for certain products also inuences the maximum
amount that consumers are willing to pay for them.
The WTP is a subject well approached for the
current state of knowledge. Husted et al. (2014), for
example, performed a study about environmental
attitudes and willingness to pay for environmental
certication in Mexico. Vock (2013) discussed about
the willingness to pay for social networking websites.
Giraud (2012) developed a structure that allows us to
describe the relation between the main concepts and
the gap on the Willingness to Accept (WTA) and the
willingness to pay (WTP).
The term WTP has also been studied in the food
sector, in the project developed by Mamatha and Reddy
(2013), for example, which approaches about the im-
pact of organic coffee production in the environmental
variable and the willingness of consumers to pay for this
kind of products.
The present work was performed seeking to unders-
tand the behavior of bakery consumers in Belo Horizonte,
State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. A survey was carried out in
two stages. The rst was a qualitative approach, and the
second was a quantitative and descriptive assessment. In
the rst stage, 10 in-depth interviews were carried out
for proprietors and/or managers of bakeries selected for
convenience and accessibility. Besides, other 10 interviews
were carried out for nal consumers. Semi-structured
questionnaires specically designed for each group of
respondents were used for the interviews, and all involved
were interviewed, each for 30-40 minutes.
Questionaires for the qualitative assessment consis-
ted of questions based on the concepts related to each stage
of the purchase decision process proposed by Blackwell,
Miniard and Engel (2013); and they are as follows:
– What is the ideal location for a bakery in your
opinion, and why?
– Which reasons lead you to attend to bakeries?
– What types of baked products are you used buy?
– What leads you to decide about the bakery from
which you have to buy baked products?
– Who gives you information about baked pro-
ducts you decide to buy (e.g. spouse, relative, friend,
– Which products must be offered in a bakery to
attract much more customers?
– Are there differences between baked products
and those industrialized in other companies? Why do you
think so?
What do you think about baked products? Should
they be less expensive, equal price, or more expensive than
those processed by other companies? Why?
The output obtained from data analysis of qua-
litative input data was categorized according to stages
of the buying decision process and, then, used to make
inferences. Results obtained here, associated with
other variables described in AERNI (2011); LI; WANG
(2014); SATA (2013); SEKARWAT (2013); SOUKI
(2003) and STEFAN (2012), showed a set of parameters
that guided the designing of the questionnaire for the
quantitative stage. A team previously trained about all
details related to the survey collected data. Consumers
involved in the study were invited on time after they
buy baked products in bakeries located in the region
underd study.
The questionnaire consisted of the following ques-
tions: a) which reasons led you to attend to bakeries?;
b) which sources of information do you use, and which
groups inuence the process of choosing bakeries and
products in the buying process?; c) which attributes do
you consider during the purchase decision process?; d)
which image do you have with regard to bakeries and
products from the bakery industry?; e) Are you willing
to pay more for baked products than for those produced
in other industries?
The sample estimate was obtained based on the
database provided by the Baking Industry Association
of the State of Minas Gerais (Amipão), which involves
1,129 bakeries distributed in nine administrative regions
of the capital city of the State. These bakeries were
classied according to their location as follows: Venda
Nova, North, Northeast, Pampulha, Northwest, East,
Central South, West and Barreiro. Then, 45 establish-
ments were selected by convenience, ie, ve bakeries
per administrative region. From these, 11 interveniens
were interviewed per establishment after the purcha-
se process. In the end of the interview process, 30
The behavior of bakery consumers... 5
Organizações Rurais & Agroindustriais, Lavras, v. 18, n. 1, p. 1-12, 2016
questionnaires were rejected because they were found
to have missing and/or incorrect data, remaining 465
well-lled questionnaires.
The quantitative and descriptive methods were
used because they allowed us to nd out how often a given
phenomenon occurs with the best precision as possible,
as well as about its relation and connection with others,
its nature and characteristics, and correlating facts or
phenomena without being manipulated (Hart, Bervian
and Silva, 2007, p.49). This principle is according to that
outlined in Malhotra (2001), which states that the objective
of a descriptive method is to understand and interpret the
reality by means of observation, description, classication
and interpretation of phenomena, without interfering to
modify them.
To achieve the objectives proposed in this study,
statistical data analyses were carried out seeking to assess
about the images of consumers with regard to bakeries
and baked goods. Besides, they were also asked about
the existing mental association between bakery and their
relative conception.
Variables analyzed in the qualitative phase were
measured seeking to infer about the main reasons that lead
consumers to choose a given bakery. The scale for these
parameters ranged from 1 to 5, where 1 means “strongly
disagree” and 5 means “strongly agree”.
When studying about what leads consumers to
decide about the bakery from which they have to buy
baked products, various sources were pointed out, from
which we highlight the following: bakery, yers or bro-
chures, billboards, bus ads, radio, television, newspapers,
magazines and internet databases. Some questions were
proposed seeking to identify the inuential groups in the
products purchase process.
In addition, several variables were also established
aiming to carry out a comparative analysis about the
characterization of baked products or those produced by
other industries. The scale also ranged from 1 to 5, where
1 means “very bad” and 5 means “very good”.
Regarding the evaluation of consumer preferen-
ces for baked products or those manufactured in other
companies, many answers were found to express a cer-
tain preference, each based in a given logic of events.
In the end, 32 variables from the qualitative phase were
assessed aiming to study attributes considered important
by consumers of baked products in the purchase deci-
sion process. The scale consisted of ve points, where
1 means “very low importance” and 5 means “very high
The purpose of this study was to understand the
behavior of bakery consumers as well as their purchase
decision process. Results show that the gender of respon-
dents is about 49% for male and 51% for female. With
regard to the age, it was found that 6.3% of them range
from 15 to 19 years old; 38.9% range from 20 to 34 years
old; 32.9% range from 35 to 49 years old; 14.6% range
from 50 to 65 years old; 5.4% are over 65 years old; and
1.9% did not provide any information about their age.
Regarding the education, it was found that the ques-
tionnaire respondents have, in general, a low education
level. About 4.5% of them completed the 4th grade and
16.1% completed the elementary education (9th grade). The
majority of them (54.6%) did the high education. Beyond
these, 20.6% are those who are attending the college or
who have already completed this education level. In ad-
dition, about 3.3% of them completed the postgraduate
level (specialization, Master or PhD), and only 0.9% did
not answer the questionnaire
In the case of marital status, it was found that 49.1%
of bakery consumers are married, 39.6% are single, 7.7%
are divorced, 1.9% are widow, and 1.7% did not provide
the proper answer.
With regard to family income, 49.6% of bakery
consumers gain more less R$ 4,000.00; 42.4% record inco-
me from R$ 4,000.00 to R$ 8,000.00; 5.2% record income
over R$ 8,000.00; and 2.8% did not provide any answer.
4.1 Reasons that Lead Consumers to Attend Bakeries
The rst objective of this study was to identify
reasons that lead consumers to attend bakeries. Results
show that 83.4% of bakery consumers realize by them-
selves the need to buy at a given bakery, and reasons
for the visits (Figure 1). This gure shows that 92% of
consumers tend to agree that they go to a bakery to buy
perishable or immediate food for consumption. In addition,
49% of them tend to agree that they go to a bakery to buy
non-perishable food such as beverages, canned food and
condiments. It was also found that 54% of them tend to
agree that they go to a bakery to buy products that will be
immediately consumed in the bakery establishment. About
22% of them agree that they go to a bakery to buy non-food
products such as cleaning supplies, utensils for parties and
cigarettes. A similar situation was found in Stefan (2012),
which states that bread (food for immediate consumption)
is the most important baked product searched during the
buying process in Romania.
SOUKI, G. Q. et al.6
Organizações Rurais & Agroindustriais, Lavras, v. 18, n. 1, p. 1-12, 2016
4.2 Sources of Information and Groups that
Inuence the Choosing Process of Bakeries and
Baked Products
The second objective of this study was to verify
the sources of information used by bakery consumers and
groups that inuence the process of choosing bakeries and
baked products.
Results show that respondents tend to have auto-
nomy regarding the choice of the bakery they purchase
products. About 84.1% of them claims that they seek
information about baked products in respective bakeries, it
means, consumers choose bakeries located in places close
to ways they used to go through them. Other sources of
information about baked products, reported by less than
3% of bakery consumers, are pamphlets or brochures,
newspapers, television, bakery website, radio, e-mails,
billboards, bus ads, magazine and social networks.
Consumers are also found to have considerable
autonomy on the purchasing decision of baked pro-
ducts. Thus, 81.7% of them seek information about
the type of products to buy, 85.4% indicate different
options of bakeries, 86.7% evaluate different available
alternatives of bakeries, 86.5% decide about bakeries
in which they buy baked products, 93.1% visit the
bakery to make the purchase decision, and 96.6%
consume baked products.
However, other family members, especially
spouses, inuence the selection process of baked goods
as well as the purchasing decision. It was found that, for
various steps mentioned above, from 30.8% to 39.4% of
respondents are inuenced by their respective spouses.
Products they purchase are consumed in a shared manner
with spouses in about 46.7% of cases, and about 71.0% of
cases are related to those consumers inuenced by other
relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and many others.
Statistically signicant differences between women
and men were found at 5% of probability. About 85.1% of
women seek information about products to purchase and
89.9% of them also indicate options of preferred bakeries;
while only 78.5% of men seek information about products
to purchase and 81.9% of them also indicate options of
bakeries of preference.
4.3 Attributes Considered During the Purchase
Decision Process
The third objective of this study was to describe
attributes related to the purchase decision process of baked
PICTURE 1 – Reasons that lead consumers to attend bakeries
Source: Research data
The behavior of bakery consumers... 7
Organizações Rurais & Agroindustriais, Lavras, v. 18, n. 1, p. 1-12, 2016
Results show that the location of bakeries is an
essential aspect for consumers in the purchase decision
process, because establishes the distance from consumers’
home to the bakery. Thus, 76.8% of consumers prefer
to buy baked products at bakeries near their homes, and
12.0% prefer to buy them at bakeries near their workplaces.
In addition, 11.0% of them use to buy them at bakeries
located along the way they used to go through. Only 0.2%
of them did not provide any answer. The mean distance
from consumers’ home to the closest bakery they go often
is about 2.46 kilometers.
Other potentially inuential attributes for the pur-
chasing decision were analyzed and grouped into three
categories as follows: a) Minimum or basic attributes; b)
Differentiating attributes for the general public; and c)
Differentiating attributes for specic audiences. The clas-
sication criterion was based on the average, and standard
deviations for each parameter estimated, from which the
average was found to be good estimate for the analysis
Items belonging to the category of minimum or
basic attributes were those considered indispensable by
consumers during their purchase decision process of baked
products. Without such attributes, bakeries would probably
have low client attraction capacity.
Regarding the minimum or basic attributes, the
following mean estimates were found for each require-
ment: (i) 4.67 for ‘offer of fresh products’; (ii) 4.65 for
‘offer of tasty and delicious products’; (iii) 4.63 for ‘quality
of services’; (iv) 4.62 for ’honesty in customers service’;
(v) 4.58 for ’good looking products’; and (vi) 4.57 for
’high quality products’.
In relation to differentiating attributes for the
general public, respondents rated differential aspects,
which would serve to attract customers in general. These
attributes aggregate value for a not particular audience.
These data showed a record of an equal mean estimate
about 4.38 for both of the following attributes: “excel-
lent infrastructure” and “ low price”; as well as an equal
average estimate about 4.35 for the following attributes:
“good location” and “ wide variety of baked products”.
Regarding the “differentiating attributes for specic
audiences”, attributes considered important for consumers
seeking for specic characteristics were found. Thus, the
following averages were estimated: (i) 4.40 for “details
about the nutritional composition of baked products”; (ii)
4.35 for “offer of products within packages just to deal
with people living alone as well as large families; and (iii)
4.32 for “offer of products targeted to specic audiences
(eg. diet, light, gluten free, etc.)”. The same mean estimate
about 4.27 was found for both of the following attributes:
“coffee shop and∕or restaurant infrastructures “ and “whole
grain and/or functional food (eg. whole wheat breads and
cakes, multigrain food etc.).
Regarding the importance of these attributes in the
purchase decision process, these results are found to be
similar to those obtained in Aerni (2011), Li and Wang
(2014), Sata (2013) and Stefan (2012) although different
categorizing criteria were used.
4.4 Mental Images and Associations that Consumers
Have With Regard to Bakeries and Baked Products
The fourth objective of the work was to study
about the image consumers have with regard to bakeries
and baked products, including those produced by other
companies than bakeries.
Grasseli and Souki (2007), and Souki, Amorim
and Mendes (2008) state that images have functional,
cognitive, symbolic and emotional dimensions, which
can greatly inuence consumer decisions; the reason why
these dimensions were used to classify spontaneous words
expressed by baked products consumers.
When consumers were asked about the rst word
related to baked products that came into their minds,
77.8% of them remembered the word bread. Other com-
plementary products such as coffee, milk, butter, cheese,
snacks, cookies, salami, among others, were remembered
by 6.3% of respondents as the rst mental association they
have made. The remaining 15.9% of them showed diffuse
mental associations.
It is was also found that words pointed out by
consumers may have positive, neutral or negative mental
associations. Positive images were also emphasized by
Silva, Merlo and Nagano (2012), reinforcing the impor-
tance they have in the purchase decision process. Positive
mental associations were made in 93.3% of cases for the
case of words recalled ‘bakery’. Negative associations
were mentioned by only 1.5% of interviewers, and neutral
associations were by 5.2% of respondents. Therefore, It
appears that mental associations of consumers with regard
to bakeries are quite favorable, whereas the most remem-
bered words shows a positive vector.
The image about baked goods produced and sold
by bakeries was also assessed. About 90.8% of the con-
sumers revealed positive mental associations. Negative
associations represented only 1.5% of them, and neutral
associations were revealed by 7.7% of consumers. For
products that are produced and marketed by bakeries,
38.9% of respondents described various types of bread
SOUKI, G. Q. et al.8
Organizações Rurais & Agroindustriais, Lavras, v. 18, n. 1, p. 1-12, 2016
such as French bread, sweet bread, small roll, etc. Cakes
and pies were reminded by 21.1% of consumers; the
cheese bread was remembered by 6.4% of respondents;
crackers and snack foods were mentioned by 5.3% and
5.1% of them, respectively. The remaining 23.2% consist
of other more diffuse mental associations, which did not
individually reach 3%.
Regarding the industrial baked products from other
companies but sold in bakeries, the sliced bread was the
rst image that came into their minds in 33.8% of cases.
For about 23.8% of respondents, other types of breads
were found to be the most immediate mental association.
Biscuits, cheese bread and cakes were also mentioned,
respectively in 14.5%, 7,1% and 10.1% of cases. About
10.7% of respondents did not make any association with
regard to industrialized baked goods from other companies,
but sold in bakeries. About 79.4% of cases consisted of
positive mental associations made in relation to manufac-
tured products from other companies, but sold in bakeries.
Besides, 3.9% of them approached negative associations,
and 16.7% mentioned neutral associations.
4.5 Consumer Preferences and Willingness to Pay
The last objective proposed in this study was to
describe consumer preferences as well as their willingness
to pay more for goods produced by bakeries than for those
from other industries.
This goal also refers to the concept of Willingness
to Pay (WTP), i.e, it makes reference to the maximum
amount that consumers are willing to pay for baked pro-
ducts. Consumers usually pay for products for which they
believe the price is within an acceptable range, given the
quality. The increase of price of the primary necessity
products and other relatively less expensive, such as baked
goods, is easily perceived, the reason why it keeps within
an acceptable price range in the perspective of consumers.
With regards to consumer preferences, the
following results were found: (i) 64.7% of respondents
prefer to buy products produced and sold in bakeries than
those from other companies but sold in bakeries, although
there is no differences in terms of characteristics and price;
(ii) 22.2% of respondents did not make distinction between
products; (iii) 11.4% of consumers prefer products from
other industries than those from bakeries; and (iv) 1.7%
did not provide any answer.
Although we identied the existence of a greater
consumer preference for products from bakeries, data
analysis shows that bakery consumers are not willing to
pay more for these products (Willingness to pay) than for
products from other industries. About 47.5% of them are
willing to pay a lower price for products from bakeries
than for those from other industries, 38.3% of them are
willing to pay the same price, 11.4% are willing to pay a
higher price for products from bakeries, and 2.8% did not
provide any answer.
In regard to goods from bakeries, consumers revea-
led the same preference, with no tendency to pay a higher
price for them, it means, products from bakeries are only
selected when the price range is within that for products
from other companies. This is according to Blackwell,
Miniard and Engel (2013, p. 118) description, which states
that a high price may avoid the consideration of the product
for many consumers.
Bakeries are innovating and adapting their pro-
duction process and trade every year by diversication of
products and services to meet the customers wishes. With
a rich history that spans centuries of existence, bakeries
attract consumers of different ages, genders, social clas-
ses and cultures so far. The existing competition in the
bakery market, along with society’s demands for healthy
and varied food, increases the importance of understan-
ding consumer behavior and their purchasing decision
process at bakeries, being such understanding important
to promote the perception of trends and opportunities for
the bakery sector.
Results obtained in this study support the con-
clusion that reasons that encourage consumers to attend
bakeries are mainly to buy perishable or for immediate
consumption food. However, it is also found that the
purchase of non-perishable food or food which can be
consumed in a longer period, as well as buying products
for immediate consumption can motivate consumers to go
often to this kind of establishments.
With regard to different roles of these participants
in the buying decision process in bakeries, there was a
convergence with the ve roles outlined in Blackwell,
Miniard and Engel (2013). However, bakery consumers are
inuenced by their spouses and by several people, among
which are listed other relatives, friends and co-workers. In
addition, there was a predominance of women in complian-
ce with various stages of the purchasing decision process.
In relation to mental associations that consumers
make with regard to bakeries, results show that such
associations are predominantly positive, and essentially
related to bread. In fact, associations related to products
The behavior of bakery consumers... 9
Organizações Rurais & Agroindustriais, Lavras, v. 18, n. 1, p. 1-12, 2016
from bakeries are predominantly related to the following
products: bread, cakes, pies, cheese bread, cookies and
pastries. Besides, associations concerning to products from
other companies but sold in bakeries, are related to the
following products: bread, other types of bread, cookies,
cakes and cheese bread. In general, consumers perceive
few differences between products produced and marketed
in bakeries and those from other companies and sold in
bakeries. This found is according to that described in Reche
et al. (2013), which states that the perception of quality
and value by consumers affects their purchase choices.
These results also allow us to conclude that among
attributes considered by consumers in their buying deci-
sion, some of them may be described as basic or minimum,
also considered mandatory for bakeries, in order to keep
competing in the market. Besides, some attributes were
identied. These can be used to differentiate bakeries from
their competitors, offering features valued by the general
public (eg. infrastructure, location, variety of products,
market reputation, parking space availability, etc.) or to
meet specic market niches (e.g. availability of whole
grain and/or functional products, offer of products in va-
rious size packages, offer of products targeted to specic
audiences such as diet, light, gluten free, and many others).
Although consumers have shown preference for pro-
ducts from bakeries rather than for products industrialized
in other companies, they have not shown willingness to pay
higher prices for those products. Thus, this study lead us to
conclude that bakeries should differ with regard to indus-
tries, manufacturing a variety of products, always offering
fresh and healthy products, providing extra services and a
differentiated services to the customers. The preference for
goods from bakeries in comparison to those from other in-
dustries can be considered a competitive advantage, althou-
gh it is not generating a greater willingness of consumers
to pay an extra value under comparable quality conditions.
The present study expands the academic knowledge
about the behavior of food consumers, especially bread,
using a theoretical model academically recognized worl-
dwide. It also allows us to compare results obtained here
with those obtained in different realities and markets such
as Taiwan, Switzerland, Indonesia and Romania. Such
comparisons make possible to describe the importance
of the attribute “service quality”, which was equally as-
sessed in Taiwan, Indonesia and Romania. Regarding the
Willingness to Pay, results show that consumers exhibit
the preference to pay lower prices for baked goods than for
other alternatives; what was also found in AERNI (2011).
Managerial implications provide indications for
bakeries about their image in the perspective of consumers,
and the way how they face baked products. In addition,
they show the image of the main competitors for some
products, namely, those manufactured in other industries
but marketed in bakeries.
This study also revealed that bakery consumers
are not willing to pay more for products from bakeries,
although show tendency to prefer these products than
those from other industries. Thus, the greater preference
for goods from bakeries can be considered a competitive
advantage for bakeries.
Therefore, bakeries adapt their strategies to the
new trends of baked food consumers, which demand for
convenience, service agility and healthy food.
The authors acknowledge that this research has
several limitations. The rst is related to data collection,
which occurred only once. Considering various factors
that can affect the purchasing decisions of bakery con-
sumers, information obtained in this study may change
along time. In addition, only the city of Belo Horizonte
was included in the study, suggesting the existence of
possible inuences of culture and local specicities. The
survey was performed in all nine administrative regions
of the capital city of the State, constituting a non random
sampling, but convenience sampling, instead.
Suggestions for further researches may include
comparison of different bakery consumers in terms of
purchase and behavior in different scenarios. We also
encourage future researchers to target specic groups ac-
cording to their behavioral pattern during the buying and
consumption processes. Thus, the following aspects should
be considered as essential: type of products, days and
purchasing schedules, forms of consumption, participants
in the purchase decision process, person who consumes
baked products and locations, other products consumed
along with baked products, among many others.
To compare the purchasing and consumption
behavior of different populations, one can expand the
geographical scope of the research, including other ci-
ties, regions and countries, because may show different
behavioral patterns.
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