Grimshaw, Kaitlyn E (2013-08). Consumer Perception of Beef, Pork, Lamb, Chicken, and Fish. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • One of the greatest challenges to developing successful marketing strategies in the food sector is gaining a better understanding of the diversity of consumer needs (Onwezen et al., 2012). It is important to understand consumer perceptions of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and fish regarding consumption levels, price, nutrition, animal handling, and animal welfare to help the industry educate and market to consumers, as well as understand perceived misconceptions. Moral and ethical beliefs, consisting of concerns for animal welfare, are reported as main reasons to avoid meat (Hoek et al., 2004). Consumers view high animal welfare standards at the production stage as an indicator that the resulting food is safe, healthy and of high quality (Verbeke et al., 2010). To gain a better understanding of consumer perceptions, an online survey was developed utilizing Qualtrics Q University Survey software (Qualtrics Labs, Inc., Provo, UT, United States). A total of 1,602 surveys were completed. Data was analyzed utilizing PROC Mixed procedure of SAS (v9.3, SAS Institute, Cary, NC). Data was also analyzed using PROC Factor to determine factor analysis and Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Three consumer groups were determined: protein eaters, fish-only eaters, and vegetable-only eaters. Econometric analysis was also conducted using the Multinomial Logit (MNL) Model with STATA Statistics/Data Analysis (v12, StataCorp, College Station, TX). This model was designed to explain choice of protein eaters, fish-only, and vegetarian consumers. Varying levels of significance (P > | z | <= 0.01, 0.05, and 0.1) were used. Three groups were identified: protein eaters, fish-only, and vegetable protein-only. Consumer groups from both statistical analyses were evaluated for perceptions of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and fish healthfulness, animal handling and animal welfare. The data indicated that females were less likely to consume animal protein by 4.4% while consumers with a history of family disease were more likely to consume animal protein by 3.3%. As income level increased, likelihood of consuming protein decreased for income levels of $30,000-$59,000 (9.9%), $60,000-$99,000 (9.4%), and $100,000-$199,000 (5.9%), respectively. Thirty-six percent of consumers indicated animal welfare was somewhat important, while another 22% and 11% responded that it was very important and extremely important, respectively. When asked how often they purchased natural/organic, grass-fed, and free-range/cage-free products, 50%, 60%, and 63%, respectively, indicated they purchased these products less than once every 2-3 months. Although consumers were emotionally invested in animal welfare, those emotions did not necessarily reflect purchasing habits.

publication date

  • August 2013