Consumers’ quality perception as a basis for fish market segmentation in Belgium
This paper focuses on consumers’ quality perception of fish in Belgium and its impact on interest in information, beliefs and behaviour. Cross-sectional data were collected from a sample of 429 consumers in March 2003. Two dimensions shape fish quality perception: consumer involvement with fish quality and consumers’ self-estimated ability to assess fish quality, which allow segmenting the market in four fish consumer segments. The segments are typified as Uninvolved, Insecure, Self-confident and Connoisseurs, and have distinctive socio-demographic, attitudinal and behavioural profiles. The Uninvolved are mainly young males, have the lowest fish consumption level, weakest belief in health benefits from eating fish, and lowest interest in both search and credence information cues. Insecure fish consumers are mainly females, with a tendency of lower education and urban residence, who feel not able to evaluate fish quality, although they find quality very important. They display a strong interest in a fish quality label. The most relevant facts about Self-confident consumers, who display an average socio-demographic profile, are their high fish consumption level, and their low interest in a fish quality label. Connoisseurs are mainly females in the age category 55+, who are strongly involved with food in general and well aware of the association between food and health. They have the highest fish consumption and show a strong interest in both search and credence cues, as well as in a fish quality label. The segments do not differ with respect to risk perception about fish.
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