Value-based consumer segmentation: the key to sustainable agri-food chains

Macharia, John, Collins, Ray and Sun, Tim (2013) Value-based consumer segmentation: the key to sustainable agri-food chains. British Food Journal, 115 9: 1313-1328. doi:10.1108/BFJ-09-2011-0215

Author Macharia, John
Collins, Ray
Sun, Tim
Title Value-based consumer segmentation: the key to sustainable agri-food chains
Journal name British Food Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0007-070X
Publication date 2013-01-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/BFJ-09-2011-0215
Volume 115
Issue 9
Start page 1313
End page 1328
Total pages 16
Place of publication Bingley, W Yorks, United Kingdom
Publisher Emerald
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Purpose – The final consumer has the exclusive right to define what constitutes value in a product or service. Under increasing pressures of globalization and urbanization, a consumer-focused approach to performance improvement in supply chains can lead to more satisfied consumers and improved returns to growers and retailers. This paper aims to demonstrate that such an orientation, though lacking in agri-food supply chains in developing countries, can mitigate threats to food safety, consumer health and environmental quality.

Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected through random survey intercepts (n=418) at different retail outlets for fresh vegetables in Nairobi, Kenya in 2010. Multi-step cluster analysis (Ward Method, K-means) was used to classify fresh vegetable consumers, in terms of their product, production and marketing process preferences.

Findings – Four heterogeneous segments in terms of value preferences, behaviour and personal profiles (p<0.05) were derived. They were labelled Prestigious Shoppers (25 per cent), Market Enthusiasts (18 per cent), Ethics Crusaders (41 per cent) and Safety Sceptics (16 per cent). All segments expressed high or moderate preferences for product quality. In addition, the Prestigious Shoppers expressed a moderate preference for customer service. Market Enthusiasts attached the highest values to market conditions and customer service. Ethics Crusaders most highly preferred customer service, while Safety Sceptics most highly preferred safe production.

Research limitations/implications – Since it is difficult to predict consumer behaviour precisely, these findings may be contextual. Yet, the segments have unique value preferences despite actors treating them as homogeneous. Ignoring these differences can lead to unsustainable attempts to improve chain practice and policies.

Originality/value – This paper is the first of its kind. It advocates for use of universal value profiles as a basis for development of consumer-focused strategies for sustainable performance improvement in agri-food chains in developing countries.
Keyword Consumer behaviour
Supply chain
Developing countries
Supply chain management
Food industry
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Official 2014 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 9 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 10 Nov 2013, 10:54:22 EST by System User on behalf of School of Agriculture and Food Sciences