Purpose – Red lentils are one of the widely consumed food items in South Asia and this has created an enormous market opportunity for all players in the chain. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine the most valued attributes of red lentils and to assess how consumer preferences vary across store type and by socio-demographic factors. Thereby, it was aimed to identify value chain interventions that are required to meet the consumer demand.
Design/methodology/approach – Sri Lanka was selected as the study location because of its significance as an importer. Through an intercept survey of 300 consumers in three store types, consumption pattern and preference for four attributes of red lentils, namely, size, colour, visual quality and price were collected. Data were also collected from retail and wholesale stores and from a processor. Conjoint analysis was used to analyse the consumer data.
Findings – A majority of the respondents consumed red lentils on a daily basis. Consumer preference rankings showed that consumers place a significantly greater level of importance on visual quality than other attributes. Trade-off patterns were different across store types and by socio-demographic factors. Grocery shoppers were willing to trade-off packaging to price while the reverse was true for supermarket shoppers. Retail and wholesale purchases were driven by quality.
Research limitations/implications – Findings highlight that chain effectiveness could be enhanced by offering bigger sized lentils while assuring quality.
Originality/value – This research uses a consumer driven assessment in identifying required value chain interventions.