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Vineland studying consumer buying habits


January 8, 2010
By Dave Harrison


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Jan. 8, 2010, Vineland, Ont. – With major support from OMAFRA’s New
Directions Research Program, Dr. Isabelle Lesschaeve, a globally recognized
researcher in consumer insights and product innovation at Vineland Research and
Innovation Centre, is leading a study on consumer response to local,
sustainable and organic food claims.



Jan. 8, 2010, Vineland, Ont. – With major support from OMAFRA’s New
Directions Research Program
, Dr. Isabelle Lesschaeve, a globally recognized
researcher in consumer insights and product innovation at Vineland Research and
Innovation Centre
, is leading a study on consumer response to local,
sustainable and organic food claims. This work will forge new ground in
determining how price, sensory experience, production practices and region of
origin claims affect Ontario consumer decisions to buy horticultural products
and wines.

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“As an example, growth in the organic sector has been tied to claims that
organic food is a healthier and more environmentally responsible choice.
However no systematic research has been conducted to assess how consumers truly
respond to these claims,” said Dr. Lesschaeve. “In Ontario, similar
expectations about health and environmental benefits exist for locally produced
food. Promotion in this sector has developed an opportunity to expand the
Ontario market and sustain the agri-food sector. This is why it is necessary to
understand the sensory and psychological factors affecting consumer purchases
of organic and local food and whether production practices or region of origin
have a significant impact on actual purchase behavior.”

Building the relationship between market opportunities and agri-food
research is a major driver for Vineland, said Dr. Jim Brandle, CEO, Vineland
Research and Innovation Centre. “Ontario agri-food businesses, from growers
through to retail, benefit when they can make informed decisions and deliver
products that consumers want. This work will assist in better understanding the
differences between what consumers say they will buy and what they actually do
buy. With a clearer picture of how the consumer makes choices, labeling and
marketing strategies can be tailored to the advantage of Ontario producers.”

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre will be partnering with Local
Food Plus, Vineland Growers Co-operative, Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc.
and Niagara Peninsula Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association for this project.
In addition Dr. Antonia Mantonakis, Dr. Carman Cullen and Dr. Eugene Kaciak
from the Brock University Faculty of Business, St. Catharines, Ontario, have
generously offered to provide their expertise.

For this project OMAFRA’s New Directions Research Program has awarded a
grant of $156,910. The New Directions program was designed to stimulate
sustainable growth and competitiveness of Ontario’s agri-food sector through investment
in innovative and high quality research in partnership with industry, rural
communities/organizations, other levels of government and research
institutions.


 


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