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Abstract

Purpose Investigate the behaviour and the habits of the consumers from central-southern Italy in relation to extra olive oil consumption, focussing on the impact of protected designation of origin (PDO) and EU–organic certification on purchase intention and quality perception. Design/methodology/approach A specific questionnaire was submitted to 160 consumers; a subsample of ten experts, ten semi-experts and ten habitual consumers of olive oil tested, through a blind test first and a normal one then, three Italian samples: an extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) without certification, an organic EVOO and a PDO EVOO, which were characterised also from a chemical-physical point of view. The answers provided during the tastings were statistically analysed and compared. Findings People interviewed prefer local olive oils; they are positively influenced by PDO/organic certification, while price is not a decisive factor on the purchasing choices. According to tasting panel results: experts gave consistent answers preferring organic olive oil, semi-experts are positively influenced by the PDO brand contrary to what they claimed; non-experts would buy EVOO, although they are positively influenced by the PDO brand and negatively by the organic certification. Practical implications Only knowledge and experience can aid consumers make consistent and aware choices. Information campaigns could help them to distinguish products, correctly identify food attributes and overcome their scepticism towards quality of organic products. Originality/value Few works investigated the impact of quality and sustainability labelling on perception of olive oils, valuing the consistency between answers provided before and after sensory assessments.

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Understanding the motivations that stimulate green consumption can promote environmental thinking to increase demand, especially because the current estimated market share for green products is less than 4% worldwide. In this scenario, emerging countries have contributed to the increasing levels of consumption and environmental effects. Culture and socio-economic status play a significant role in environmental impacts and influences the consumption of green products. The current body of literature lacks studies focused on the attitude of Brazilian consumers in relation to these products. This research evaluates the elements that motivate the consumption of green product. A survey targeting individuals who have consumed these products was performed in the largest city in Southern Brazil. Data were analyzed using a factorial analysis, and a causal structural equation model was created to evaluate the drivers that promote green consumption. The elements of Information and Knowledge, Environmental Attitude, Social Context and Environmental Consciousness were strongly correlated with green consumption. However, the Quality and Price of green products has shown a weaker relationship with consumption. These elements indicated that the individuals in the survey recognize and seek information covering environmental issues, are concerned with the health effects associated with the consumption of the goods, and reject a brand or company that might have demonstrated inappropriate environmental behaviours. Also indicate that the relation price versus quality does not play a central role in the decision of consuming green products. Finally, information about these products and their point-of-sale availability were highlighted as enhancing green consumption. This outcome suggests that education might increase green consumption. This research contributed to understand the main drivers that support the decision about the green products option made for the surveyed sample. From a managerial standpoint, improvements in ethical transactions, the promotion of socially responsible actions, the distribution of appropriate information about green products, and the structure of the green supply chain could create new businesses focused on sustainable production and consumption. The findings of this research could support future policies and actions focused on providing information and knowledge about environmental and health contribution of the green products to the consumers, producers, companies, and society.
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Much research about green product development and marketing has been proposed due to consumers' awareness of environmental protection and the international severe environmental regulations. Despite the scholarly attention paid to green issues, the market shares of many green products have not increased significantly in accordance with academic pursuit and interest over the past decade. A major reason for this lies in the fact that many green products in the marketplace cannot fulfill consumers' expectations because gaps exist between consumers' expectations and their perceptions of those products. This problem has been left unnoticed and even unexplored in previous research. As a result, this study purports to adopt the service quality model for drafting a model describing the gaps existing between consumers' expectations and their perceptions, and adopt the notion of SERVQUAL instrument to develop a green product instrument for measuring these gaps. This green product instrument is built upon the basic attributes of product quality, attributes for measuring environmental performance and eco-certification of green products. By means of the proposed instrument, we find that gaps do exist between customers' expectations and their perceptions related to green information products. The larger gaps existing between consumers' expectations and their perceptions of green information products are environmental attributes of green information products. Finally, suggestions are provided for the managerial use of the proposed instrument, and a number of future research issues are also identified.
Article
The objective of this research was to assess Northern California consumer liking, purchase intent and sensory and nutritional expectations for commercial extra virgin olive oils based on their packaging and labeling, and to compare those ratings to hedonic and purchase intent ratings for the same oils tasted blind. A set of 18 commercial extra virgin olive oils was evaluated by two groups of Northern California consumers under different conditions. One group (N = 102) visually assessed the bottles and labels and then indicated their liking and purchase intent for the oils, among other variables. Another group (N = 110) tasted the oils blind, and then indicated their liking and purchase intent for the oils. We uncovered two preference segments in the evaluation of the bottles and labels (packaging study), both of which liked the California EVOOs, but differed in their liking of the imported oils. Consumers in segment 1 liked mostly California EVOO bottles, while consumers in segment 2 also liked some of the imported oils, particularly those from Italy. The preference map generated from the hedonic ratings in the packaging study was quite different from that generated from the blind hedonic ratings, with California oils faring much better when 'fully dressed', likely because of the desirable features of their packaging, the possible familiarity of the consumers with them, the desire of most consumers to buy local, and maybe most importantly because many consumers in the blind tasting study disliked bitter and pungent oils, and/or actually liked oils that were somewhat rancid. Region of origin was the variable that showed the biggest impact on the overall liking of the bottles and labels in the packaging study. California EVOOs were significantly preferred over most of the imported oils, overall and for preference segment 1. Consumers were willing to pay more for the oils in the packaging study than they expected to pay in the blind tasting study. Purchase intent followed similar trends to overall liking in the packaging study, and it was inversely related to the purchase intent recorded in the blind tasting study.
Article
The research presented in this article investigates the relationship between adopting voluntary simplicity as a lifestyle and life satisfaction. More precisely, it seeks to understand the role that consumption desires and relative wealth play in the context of this relationship. A survey was conducted among a Canadian sample of 344 simplifiers and 267 non-simplifiers. A statistically significant positive relationship was observed between the adoption of voluntary simplicity and a measure of satisfaction with life. This research has also established that it is partially through one's control of consumption desires that simplifiers achieve a higher level of life satisfaction. However, this was shown to be the case only among consumers with limited financial resources. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Sensory analysis is a crucial tool for evaluating the quality of extra virgin olive oils. One aim of such an investigation is to verify if the sensory attributes themselves - which are strictly related to volatile and phenolic compounds - may permit to discriminate high-quality products obtained by olives of different cultivar and/or grown in various regions. Moreover, a crucial topic is to investigate the interdependency between relevant parameters determining consumer acceptance and objective sensory characteristics evaluated by Panel test. By statistically analyzing the sensory results, a grouping - but not discriminatory - effect was evidenced for some cultivars and some producing areas. The preference map shows that the most appreciated samples by consumers were situated in the direction of the "ripe fruity" and "sweet" axis and opposite to the "bitter" and "other attributes" (pungent, green fruity, freshly cut grass, green tomato, harmony, persistency) axis. Extra virgin olive oils produced from olives of the same cultivars and grown in the same areas shared similar sensorial attributes. Some differences in terms of expectation and interpretation of sensory characteristics of EVOOs might be present for consumers and panellists: most of the consumers appear unfamiliar with positive sensorial attributes, like bitterness and pungency.
Article
Using dry-cured ham as an anchor product, consumers’ preferences for EU Quality Certification schemes, region of origin and price have been investigated with conjoint analysis. In order to achieve this aim, a mixed rank-ordered logit which allows for the investigation of heterogeneous preferences and their sources has been estimated. In particular, we have analysed to what extent consumers’ socio-demographic traits affect their price-sensitiveness and whether consumers’ sensory (hedonic) valuations and attitudes towards ham with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) affect the preferences for specific attributes. Results show that consumers with a low-medium age and income are more price sensitive. Consumers more inclined sensorially towards the regional specialty (with or without PDO) are more likely to purchase this product, and consumers with a more favourable attitude towards PDO ham are also more prone to purchase cured ham with quality certification. Findings also suggest that although the PDO scheme attracts a segment of consumers, the origin by itself is still a more powerful signal of quality, and more specifically the region of origin.
Article
The aim of the present study is to examine consumer factors that affect the demand of organic olive oil (socioeconomic characteristics as well as attitudes towards organic products, food safety and the environment). Heckman approach for single equation procedure was applied in order to (1) identify the profile of regular buyers of organic olive oil based on the aforementioned factors and (2) to estimate income elasticity for the same product. Results indicate that the demand for or ganic olive oil is strongly affected by socioeconomic characteristics such as income size and occupation status, and to a lesser extent by attitudes towards organic products, food safety and the environment.
Article
The problem of balancing out the effect of order of presentation and the carryover effect of a preceding sample over a series of presentations of the same set of samples is addressed. A series of designs developed by Williams (1949) are used. The method of calculation is given. Tables containing about 50 consumers of each design for presenting from 4 through to 16 samples are given.
Article
The phenolic composition of commercial virgin olive oils (Picual, Hojiblanca, Arbequina and Cornicabra varieties) was studied by high performance liquid chromatography, sampling oils over 1 year. Oils sold in March displayed the lowest polyphenol concentration, particularly in secoiridoid aglycons. In contrast, lignans and tocopherols concentrations were not affected by sampling date. Among varieties, Picual and Cornicabra oils had slightly higher concentrations of polyphenols than Hojiblanca and Arbequina. Overall, the concentration of polyphenols in commercial Spanish virgin olive oils ranged from 330 to 500mg/kg oil, which is higher than data reported previously. In contrast, "olive oil" and "pomace-olive oil" (mixtures of refined and virgin olive oils) had much lower concentrations in polyphenols than virgin olive oil, although higher than other edible vegetable oils. Thus, olive oil can be considered a good source of natural antioxidants. Moreover, the polyphenol and tocopherol contents of virgin olive oils were also found useful for the classification of the different commercial monovarietal oils when analysing the data by chemometric methods.
Article
Information has been shown to create expectations concerning sensory properties and acceptability of food products, and to influence their evaluations. Studying the impact of information is particularly relevant for traditional products which communicate about typicality. Extra virgin olive oil is a typical Mediterranean production whose typicality is strongly affected by the origin of its raw material and the manufacturing technology. The present study aims (1) to explore the appropriateness of several sensory descriptors in evaluating the typicality of certain extra virgin olive oils, (2) to assess the impact of information about the origin of the product on the sensory profile perception, (3) to study how the effect of sensory expectations can influence liking and “typicality” responses for the experimental oils obtained from a defined cultivar. Working with a panel of consumers familiar with several typical extra virgin olive oils produced in Lucania, a set of monovarietal extra virgin olive oils were evaluated. Results show that there are well defined expectations for some of the sensory properties which characterize the typical olive oils presented. The sensory disconfirmations leading to complete assimilation in sensory perception are associated to higher “typicality” ratings. Our results also revealed that bitterness and pungency proved to be the most appropriate sensory descriptors of certain typical olive oils.
Article
The Region of origin of food products affects consumer valuation in two different ways. First, origin can act as a quality cue hinting to other characteristics of the good. Secondly, origin can affect directly the value of food due to its symbolic or affective role. This study was carried out in order to investigate the direct effect of geographical origin when the size of the area of origin shrinks and its definition becomes more precise. A valuation experiment was designed to assess the impact of origin on consumer evaluation and to analyse how it relates to WTP and hedonic scores. A well-known specialty food—spelt—that originates from three concentric areas—Garfagnana (a small valley of the Apennines), Tuscany and Italy—was chosen as a case study. Both hedonic and monetary evaluations were elicited from 77 subjects after blind tasting condition, looking at labels only and finally tasting a labelled product. Results reveal that, in the case of spelt, the narrower and more precisely defined the area of origin the higher the quality expectation of consumers supporting the role of origin as a quality cue. A direct impact of origin on willingness to pay was also found.
Article
A consumer study was conducted to evaluate preferences and attitudes regarding extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) in an emergent market, the US. A generic descriptive analysis was used on 22 samples of EVOO in order to identify the drivers of liking for this consumer population. Results showed that, for the majority of consumers, bitterness and pungency were negative drivers of liking. Properties that drove positive ratings were fruity (green and ripe), nutty, and tea-like flavors. A panel of EVOO experts provided quality ratings for the products and these were correlated to the hedonic ratings by consumers, revealing some disconnection between consumer preferences and expert evaluations. Cluster analysis and preference mapping of the consumer hedonic ratings revealed segmentation of preferences. The EVOO’s price, available information, and reputation were key factors that drove purchases in this consumer population.
Article
Production and consumption of extra-virgin olive has been increasing in the United States, particularly in California. The objective of this study was to compare the sensory characteristics of 22 extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) from California, Italy, Spain, Chile, and Australia using a generic descriptive analysis. A total of 22 sensory attributes were identified and defined by the descriptive panel. With the exception of thick and citrus, all sensory attributes were significantly different among the oils. Canonical Variate Analysis (CVA) showed that California oils differed from some imported EVOOs, mainly by their absence of defects. A second analysis, of only those attributes included in the International Olive Council (IOC) official scorecard, provided a less detailed description of the samples and did not allow for a full characterization of the oils. While the IOC attributes allowed for faster classification in terms of clean versus defective EVOOs, the more comprehensive descriptive analysis provided both more information and a more refined classification of the samples. Variety and region of origin were important factors in the classification of both Californian and imported EVOOs. Practical Application: Measuring olive oil sensory quality using the IOC method—positive attributes of fruitiness, bitterness, and pungency, and defects including fusty, musty, winey, and rancid—allows for the certification of oils as extra virgin but it provides limited information on the sensory characteristics of the oils. A full descriptive profile, on the other hand, provides information that can be used by producers in the processing and marketing of their oils, and is a useful tool in the education of consumers about the wide range of (positive) sensory attributes in EVOO and the various sensory styles of EVOO.
Article
This paper theoretically and empirically investigates the hypothesis of decision error in environmental-friendly consumption. Existing evidence suggests that people make systematic mistakes in affective forecasting that lead to suboptimal decisions. The paper hypothesizes that such errors are important in the context of the private provision of environmental goods and shows in a simple theoretical model that decision errors imply a non-zero net marginal utility at the chosen level of environmental-friendly consumption. Using life satisfaction as a proxy for experienced utility, the empirical analysis finds a positive and significant association between life satisfaction and pro-environmental behavior, which is consistent with environmental-friendly consumption being less than individually optimal. The results are robust to controlling not only for socio-demographic characteristics but also for differences in environment-related personal attitudes.
Geographical origin: a complex feature of agro-food products”, Labels of Origin for Food: Local Development, Global Recognition
  • G Allaire
  • F Casabianca
  • E Thévenod-Mottet
15 beyond the marketing mix: modern food marketing and the future of organic food consumption”, The Crisis of Food Brands: Sustaining Safe, Innovative and Competitive Food Supply
  • H Dagevos
Are quality labels a real marketing 1advantage? A conjoint application on Greek PDO protected olive oil