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Understanding the UK food consumer

Wright, Gillian H. (1990) Understanding the UK food consumer. Journal of marketing management, 6 (2). pp. 77-86. ISSN 0267-257X

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Abstract

Since the publication of quantified dietary guidelines in 1983/4, interest in food related issues has both increased and diversified. This paper describes changes in these issues and marketing response to these changes. There is, however, a marketing challenge which goes beyond reaction to individual issues and specific crises such as salmonella or listeria. This broader marketing challenge is the general increase in interest in food and in food related issues. This paper asserts that this phenomena itself is the greatest challenge to food marketers and further, that in today's consumer environment, it is a challenge which must be addressed without delay. There is currently a merging of food and environmental/conservation issues along with the general increase in public awareness and information campaigns relating to "green" issues. This highlights the need for organisations in the food sector to take immediate action to rebuild customer confidence in the industry and in producers and in information produced by them. This problem is a shared one throughout the industry and when addressed will restore a more stable environment for competitive product marketing. This paper is presented as a demonstration of the importance of the holistic view of research--of looking at the total situation and putting the issues or hypotheses in context of the total situation. It draws on a variety of sources, secondary and primary whilst also taking into account environmental factors such as media coverage and the particular history of the situation such as the distribution of the Villejuif list of food additives in 1986. It is, the paper concludes, important that a market situation is understood and reacted to in a sympathetic way for a marketing strategy to be successful.

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