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Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Food Quality and Preference


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/foodqual

Means-end chains analysis of extra virgin olive oil purchase


and consumption behavior
Metta Santosa, Jean-Xavier Guinard
Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis, United States

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Consumption and purchase behavior towards extra virgin olive oil are not well understood in the US. Soft
Received 29 March 2010 laddering interviews were conducted with 63 Northern California consumers and means-end chains
Received in revised form 27 November 2010 analysis on the interview data revealed common grounds of consumption and buying motivations for
Accepted 14 December 2010
three different a priori dened consumer segments. Consumption motivational structures were more
Available online 17 December 2010
similar across the different consumer segments than purchasing ones. Consumers who purchased only
local extra virgin olive oil had simpler perceptual orientations than consumers who purchased imported
Keywords:
extra virgin olive oils or both imported and local oils. Several different consumer values could be associ-
Extra virgin olive oil
Laddering
ated with consequences that were linked to just one attribute. On the other hand, one particular value
Means-end chains analysis could also be associated with a few different attributes. These ndings provide opportunities for the olive
California oil industry to design products that will better satisfy consumer values and needs.
2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction opportunity for extra virgin olive oil producers to inform consum-
ers of other olive oil benets besides avor-enhancing properties.
Consumption of olive oil in the US has been increasing steadily Means-end chain theory postulates that consumers utilize or
for the past 18 years. Current olive oil consumption is between purchase a product due to some product attributes that can pro-
246,000 and 251,000 tons, which is 185% more than in 1990 vide particular benets that consumers seek that will ultimately
(International Olive Council, 2008a). Yet, the average US yearly serve the personal values consumers associate with the benets
production from the year 1990 to 2008 was about 1240 tons or (Gutman, 1982). The means are the product characteristics while
0.5% of the consumption level (International Olive Council, the values are the ends. Means-end chains analysis (MECA) aims
2008b). This huge production demand gap in America was to connect consumer values and product-feature preferences (Piet-
mediated mainly by importing olive oils produced in various ers, Baumgartner, & Allen, 1995). The associations among all the
Mediterranean areas. Olive oil imports to the US in the year 2008 elements can be used to create persuasive advertisement contents
were about 46.4% of their level in 1990 (International Olive Coun- that are meaningful for consumers (Reynolds, Gengler, & Howard,
cil, 2008c). Clearly there is a growing interest among Americans to 1995). The means-end chain model assumes a hierarchy of goal
incorporate olive oil in their diet. Nevertheless, olive oil consump- levels at which a product attributes provide positive consequences
tion in the US only represents 8% of the consumption of fats and and in turn satisfying values that are desired by consumers. Other
oils (Vossen, 2004).The health benets of extra virgin olive oil have models deviating somewhat from the hierarchical assumption,
been studied and documented in numerous publications. Some of such as representing the symmetrical relationships as a network
the known bioactive components associated with these health (van Rekom & Wierenga, 2007) or representing the degree of
effects are monounsaturated fatty acids (Martinez-Gonzales & belonging to multiple values using fuzzy logic theory (Sun &
Sanchez-Villegas, 2004), polyphenols such as oleuropin, hydroxy- Collins, 2007) have been reported.
tyrosol and tyrosol (Saija & Uccella, 2001; Tuck & Hayball, 2002), The laddering technique is an analytical tool enabling means-
and oleocanthal (Brownlee, 2005). In 2004, the Food and Drug end chains analysis. It involves an in-depth, one-on-one interview
Administration (FDA) announced that eating about 2 tablespoons to probe the attributes, consequences and values consumers asso-
(23 g) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease ciate with a product (Grunert, Beckmann, & Srensen, 2001). Soft
due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. This presents an laddering allows a natural ow of conversation of subjects without
much interferences and restrictions while hard laddering utilizes
an a priori list of attributes, consequences and values to force sub-
Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 530 754 8659; fax: +1 530 752 4759. jects to give answers in such a way that the sequence of answers
E-mail address: jxguinard@ucdavis.edu (J.-X. Guinard). would increase the level of abstraction (Grunert et al., 2001).

0950-3293/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2010.12.002
M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316 305

Although hard laddering is less time consuming and costly than The goals of this research were to investigate the hierarchical
soft laddering, the accuracy of the hard laddering interview results links among the extra virgin olive oil product attributes, conse-
depends on the priori choices available (Grunnert & Grunert, 1995). quences associated with product attributes, and personal values
Despite the differences found between soft laddering, paper and associated with extra virgin olive oil consumption and purchase
pencil hard laddering, and computerized hard laddering, the among the American consumers, using a soft laddering interview
resulting constructs were similar (Russell et al., 2004). A test of and means-end chains analysis. Understanding why the consumers
convergent validity established that soft and hard laddering led consume extra virgin olive oil and what motivates them to pur-
to largely similar results (Botschen & Thelen, 1998). Reynolds, chase the extra virgin olive oil products they currently consume
Dethloff and Westberg (1991) recommend 20 participants as a at home will help elucidate not just which consumption benets
minimum sample size for laddering research to provide signicant they seek, but possibly concerns beyond basic reasons for purchase
information about consumer choice. and consumption of extra virgin olive oil products.
Within the sensory science community, means-end chains anal-
ysis has been applied successfully to investigate purchasing mo-
2. Materials and methods
tives of specialty stores and normal supermarkets patrons for
French fair trade coffee (de Ferran & Grunert, 2007); the concept
2.1. Subjects
of local foods or origin of foods among Finnish consumers using
four different types of production methods or production location
A total of 63 consumers (40 females, 23 males, age range 20
for fresh pork meat and marinated pork slices (Roininen, Arvola, &
86 years, mean age 50.5 years), living in Northern California (Yolo,
Lhteenmki, 2006); personal value structure differences between
Solano and Sacramento counties), participated in the individual
organic food buyers and organic food non-buyers in Greece for
laddering interview session.
wines produced from organically grown grapes (Fotopoulos, Kry-
stallis, & Ness, 2003); purchasing motives for seven different veg-
etable oils among consumers in Denmark, England and France 2.2. Procedure
(Nielsen, Larsen-Bech, & Grunert, 1998); Swedish supermarket pa-
tron perceptions of unbranded, imported, branded and locally pro- American consumers were recruited through classied
duced pork (Lind, 2007); buying motives for imported fruits among advertisements in the local newspaper, general advertisements
Chinese consumers (Sun & Collins, 2007); specic concerns about on bulletin boards at the University of California, Davis, and
ve different food hazards with UK consumers (Miles & Frewer, through personal recruitment at the farmers market as well as
2001); choices of meal solutions for dinner on an ordinary week- local supermarkets. For the purpose of this study, American was
day and on the weekend with Dutch consumers (Costa, Schoolme- dened as US Citizen or Permanent Resident. Interested consumers
ester, Dekker, & Jongen, 2007); acceptance of genetically modied were screened by telephone for simple demographics such as
yogurt among German mothers (Boecker, Hartl, & Nocella, 2008); gender, age, occupation, and olive oil products currently used at
the benets associated with the concept of food traceability among home.
consumers in Germany, France, Italy and Spain (van Rijswijk, Fre- Individual consumers were invited to the conference room facil-
wer, Menozzi, & Faioli, 2008); perceptions for selected foods mod- ity at the Robert Mondavi Institute (RMI) Sensory Building at UC
ied genetically among consumers in Denmark, Finland, Norway Davis for the interview session in the year 2009. A soft laddering
and Sweden (Grunnert et al., 2001); and consumer expectations interview technique was chosen because participants may use un-
for apples (Jaeger & MacFie, 2001), among others. wanted strategic processes, and the degree of knowledge about the
The majority of extra virgin olive oil production in America product category is either low or high (Grunnert & Grunert, 1995).
(i.e.>95%) concentrates largely in Northern and Central California The subject was told that there would be two main questions the
(Vossen, 2009). Most of the olive farmers run a small-scale busi- researcher was investigating related to her or his olive oil usages
ness operation, selling their extra virgin olive oil products in the or habits: why do you consume olive oil? and why did you buy
farmers markets around the region, or using a direct online store. the olive oils that you have at home right now?
Hence, California produced extra virgin olive oil is a relatively new When consumers had difculties articulating why a particular
food product category in America. Due to the proximity of the reason was important to them, techniques such as negative ladder-
American consumers living in the Northern California regions to ing, postulating an absence, or age regression were used to uncover
the California produced extra virgin olive oils, we decided to sam- the hidden reasons (Reynolds, Dethloff, & Westberg, 2001). At the
ple Northern California consumers for this study. end of the session, consumers lled out an exit survey about basic
Consumption behavior towards a product encompasses rst the demographics and olive oil consumption and purchase habit infor-
purchase of the product (i.e. choosing) as a means to acquire the mation using the Survey Monkey software. A $10 gift certicate
product prior to consuming it (i.e. using) (Holbrook, Lehman, & was provided to each participant upon completion of the inter-
OShaughnessy, 1986). The consumption experience (using) may view. Each interview lasted 3045 min.
affect future purchase (choosing) decision. Hence, we differenti-
ated the act of consumption and the act of purchase to discover 2.3. Data analysis
the consumption motivation for olive oil as opposed to other fats
and oils, since olive oil consumption in the US is still much lower The collected interview data was analyzed following the guide-
than the consumption of other fats and oils (Vossen, 2004). In a lines outlined in Reynolds and Guttman (1988). First, the elements
separate study that also examined consumer perceptions of extra from the ladders were analyzed for content. A ladder contained
virgin olive oils, but using sorting methodology, we found that chained elements from attributes to consequences to values. Sim-
the main criterion for classifying the oils was their place of origin, ilar elements from each level of abstractions were combined into
and that from the exit survey, consumers could clearly be clustered one summary code. Then, a summary implication matrix was
into three groups those consuming imported oils, those consum- developed to display the number of times each element led to an-
ing domestic (California) oils and those who consumed both other element. The matrix represented two types of relations found
(Santosa, Abdi & Guinard, 2010). This was the rationale for our a between elements: direct and indirect. A cut-off point was selected
priori segmentation of consumers into these three groups for this to construct the hierarchical value map (HVM) to represent
study. motivation structures that the majority of consumers held. Two
306 M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316

different matrices were developed one for olive oil consumption lication in preparation), which sampled a larger number of con-
and the other for olive oil purchase. Consumers were segmented sumers from the same population (i.e. nearly 180 subjects) also
into three categories based on the origin of the olive oil products resulted in a similar proportion of consumer groups (about 20%
that they currently consumed at home, that is, whether they con- of American consumers consuming only local/California produced
sumed (1) olive oils made using olives grown locally, (2) olive oils extra virgin olive oils). Hence, we believe the proportions observed
that were imported, or (3) both imported and locally made prod- were representative of the current consumer population sampled.
ucts. Country of origin or product of origin was chosen as a way Some consumers had shorter levels of abstraction versus others,
to segment consumers in this study because other olive oil re- and these direct links were still mapped out as well as the other
search studies (Caporale, Policastro, Carlucci, and Monteleone, longer links to provide illustrations that different consumers had
2006; Dekhili & dHauteville, 2009; Espejel, Fandos, & Flavin, slightly more complex reasoning. The more consumers making a
2009) and other food research studies (Iaccarino, Di Monaco, link between two different elements, the thicker would the arrow
Mincione, Cavella, & Masi, 2006; Juric & Wosley, 1998; Verbeke linking the two elements be. Typical phrases from consumers for
& Ward, 2006) have shown its importance in consumer choice of the mapped values were extracted and are quoted to illustrate
olive oil and food products. the end values consumers found closely relevant to their olive oil
For a given sample of 5060 individuals, a cut-off point any- usage and choice.
where from 3 to 5 relations would still allow for the mapping
out of informative solutions that are meaningful for interpretation 3. Results
and actionable for subsequent use (Reynolds & Guttman, 1988).
Sensitivity analysis was conducted with different cut-off points 3.1. Consumption motivations
of 2, 3, and 4 (Table 1), and a cut-off point of 2 was selected to
map chained elements to form each ladder. Since the 63 subjects The number of attributes, consequences and values for extra
recruited divided into 13 local product users (20.6%), 23 both im- virgin olive oil consumption motivation among the three consumer
ported and local product users (36.5%) and 27 imported product groups were slightly different (Fig. 1) with consumers consuming
users (42.9%), choosing a cut-off point of 2 prevented losing too both local and imported extra virgin olive oils expressing slightly
much information from the consumer group with only 13 subjects. more values than the other two groups. The three hierarchical va-
Chained elements with a frequency of at least 2 direct links lue maps (HVM) for consumption motivations (Figs. 24) show
were mapped out and only in very few cases when there was not that different consumer values could be associated with the same
any direct link, but there were at least 2 indirect links, were product attribute, and the same consumer value could be associ-
chained elements mapped out. Since 13 consumers were a smaller ated with a few different product attributes. Also, the HVM for con-
number than the recommended number of at least 20 participants sumers who used local extra virgin olive oils tended to the simplest
per group, some differences in the results could potentially be of the three groups while the HVM for consumers who used im-
found should re-sampling of the same population be conducted ported extra virgin olive oils tended to be the most complex. Most
for the same study purpose. However, ensuring homogeneity of of the mapped chained elements were based on direct links, except
the subjects per group should have alleviated that risk (Grunert in a few cases where they contained indirect links as well (marked
et al., 2001). Our decision to study this consumer segment aimed with an asterisk).
to understand the motivations of the American consumers who All three consumer segments valued pleasure and family life
made the transition from consuming and purchasing only the im- similarly. Consumers who consumed only imported extra virgin ol-
ported extra virgin olive oils to consuming and purchasing only the ive oils had these two values satised directly through the avor
locally produced extra virgin olive oils. Our survey research (pub- attribute. Consumers who consumed only locally produced extra

Table 1
Sensitivity analysis of different cut-off points for the three different consumer segments.

Origin Activity Cut-off Number of Number of active cells as a proportion Number of direct links Number of % Direct links
active cells of all cells mentioned at least once within active cells indirect links
Local Consumption 1 72 1.00 72 61 1.00
Local Consumption 2 12 0.17 41 35 0.57
Local Consumption 3 8 0.11 35 23 0.49
Local Consumption 4 4 0.06 23 11 0.32
Import Consumption 1 131 1.00 162 138 1.00
Import Consumption 2 32 0.24 124 92 0.77
Import Consumption 3 14 0.11 88 54 0.54
Import Consumption 4 10 0.08 76 48 0.47
Both local and import Consumption 1 125 1.00 122 111 1.00
Both local and import Consumption 2 22 0.18 78 60 0.64
Both local and import Consumption 3 12 0.10 58 36 0.48
Both local and import Consumption 4 7 0.06 43 27 0.35
Local Purchase 1 80 1.00 126 97 1.00
Local Purchase 2 9 0.11 25 19 0.77
Local Purchase 3 4 0.05 15 7 0.54
Local Purchase 4 2 0.03 9 4 0.14
Import Purchase 1 121 1.00 126 97 1.00
Import Purchase 2 23 0.19 74 42 0.93
Import Purchase 3 16 0.13 60 28 0.75
Import Purchase 4 10 0.08 42 13 0.33
Both local and import Purchase 1 153 1.00 167 145 1.00
Both local and import Purchase 2 34 0.22 119 84 0.71
Both local and import Purchase 3 22 0.14 95 54 0.57
Both local and import Purchase 4 12 0.08 65 30 0.39
M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316 307

30

Attributes Consequences Values

25
25

21 21

20 19 19

17
16

15
13
12
11 11
10
10 9
8
7 7
6
5
5

0
Local Both local & import Import Local Both local & import Import
Consumption Consumption Consumption Purchase Purchase Purchase

Fig. 1. Number of attributes (A), consequences (C), and values (V) for consumption (C) and purchase (P) motivations among three different consumer groups.

virgin olive oils had the pleasure value satised directly through oil attributes. Consumers who consumed only locally produced ex-
the avor attribute while the family life value satised directly tra virgin olive oils valued feeling good and social companionship.
through the healthier oil attribute and indirectly through the mono- The former value was closely associated with consequences of,
unsaturated fat attribute. Consumers who consumed both imported again, maintaining health and getting health benets through the
and locally produced extra virgin olive oils had the pleasure value healthier oil attribute while the later value was closely associated
satised directly through the avor attribute while the family life with consequences of sharing meals and enjoying eating good foods
value satised directly through both healthier oil and monounsatu- through the avor attribute.
rated fat attributes. The value of pleasure was closely associated
with the consequence of enjoying eating good foods, which ulti- 3.2. Purchase motivations
mately could be served directly through the avor attribute or
intermediately through the results of enhancing food avors The number of attributes, consequences and values for extra
through the avor attribute. The value of family life was closely virgin olive oil purchase motivation among the three consumer
associated with the consequence of living long, which in turn can groups were slightly different (Fig. 1) with consumers purchasing
be achieved through the consequence of maintaining health, avoid- both local and imported extra virgin olive oils having slightly more
ing health problems, and getting health benets through the healthier values than the other two consumer groups. As in the HVMs for
oil attribute perception from the extra virgin olive oil. The monoun- consumption behavior, most of the mapped chained elements for
saturated fat attribute was also directly related to contributing to purchase behavior (Figs. 57) were based on direct links, except
any of the mentioned consequences related to the healthier oil in a few cases where they contained indirect links as well (marked
attribute. with an asterisk). The HVM for consumers who purchased local ex-
Consumers who consumed only imported olive oils also valued tra virgin olive oil products tended to be the simplest of all con-
quality of life, health consciousness, and happiness. The former two sumer groups. However, the HVM for consumers who used
values were closely associated with the consequences of maintain- imported oil products was not the most complex of all consumer
ing health, avoiding health problems, lowering cholesterol, getting groups as in the motivations for olive oil consumption; it was con-
health benets through the attributes healthier oil, and monounsat- sumers who purchased both imported and local oils who had the
urated fat. It is interesting to note that some consumers in this most complex motivations for olive oil purchase.
group consumed imported extra virgin olive oils as part of the tra- All consumer groups similarly valued pleasure out of their extra
dition and they would like to continue this tradition. For consumers virgin olive oil purchase. This value was associated with the conse-
who consumed both local and imported extra virgin olive oils, their quence of enjoying eating good foods, served through the avor
abstractions did not reach the value of health consciousness, but attribute. For some consumers who consumed both local and
only quality of life, which was mediated by the consequence of liv- imported extra virgin olive oils, and for some consumers who con-
ing long, and in turn was directly related to consequences of main- sumed only imported extra virgin olive oils, the consequence of
taining health, avoiding health problems, and getting health benets. enhancing food avor could mediate the avor attribute and the
These consumers also valued feeling good, fullled through the con- enjoying eating good foods consequence.
sequences of maintaining health, avoiding health problems, and get- Consumers who purchased only imported extra virgin olive oils
ting health benets through the monounsaturated fat and healthier also valued nancial responsibility and Italian identity besides
308 M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316

Monounsaturated fat

Family life

*15.4%
15.4%
Social
Function company
Live
better long

30.8%
*23.1% 23.1%
Share
Maintain 15.4% Pleasure
Feel good meals
health
*15.4%
38.5% 23.1%
30.8%
Enjoy life Enjoy eating
Health good foods
46.2% benefits

23.1%
76.9%

Healthier oil Flavor

represents weak indirect link only


represents direct link unless marked with * Attribute Consequence Value
* represents both direct and indirect links

Fig. 2. Hierarchical value map for olive oil consumption motivations for locally made extra virgin olive oil.

pleasure. However, these values were not shared with the consum- security, and environmental caring could also be satised through
ers who purchased only locally produced extra virgin olive oils, other attribute as well such as organic.
possibly due to smaller number of consumers sampled in the It is also interesting to note that the personal connection attri-
study. These consumers, instead, valued environmental caring. The bute was one of the reasons why the consumers only purchased lo-
consumers who purchased both locally produced and imported ex- cal extra virgin olive oils. These attributes did not reach a value
tra virgin olive oils only shared the nancial responsibility value level, again perhaps due to the lower number of subjects in the
with the consumers who purchased only imported extra virgin ol- group.
ive oils. These consumers, instead, also valued food security, buy Table 2 shows the typical statements of consumers reecting
California, environmental caring, and loyalty. the values mentioned above.
Consumer felt nancially responsible when money is available
for other things, which could be fullled as consequences of saving
money and/or following budget, which in turn was linked to the 3.3. Consumer demographics and habits
big quantity, cheaper/on sale, and reasonable price extra virgin ol-
ive oils that they could consequently use for cooking. It is interest- Table 3 shows a summary result of consumer demographics and
ing to note that the less avor attribute was mentioned only by olive oil usage from the telephone screening and the exit survey. It
consumers who purchased both local and imported extra virgin ol- can be seen that the total household income levels of participants
ive oils, and not by consumers who consumed only imported extra were spread across the range and about 50% of the participants had
virgin olive oils; they associated this to consequences leading to post-baccalaureate degrees. Almost 45% of the participants lived
the value of nancial responsibility. For consumers who purchased with a spouse and/or children. For the sake of keeping the manu-
both local and imported extra virgin olive oils, their multiple val- script length short, we shall describe some of the ndings as they
ues of pleasure, buy California, food security, loyalty, and environ- were being conrmed by the means-end chains analysis results.
mental caring, interestingly was associated through multiple The major reason why consumers across different groups rst
consequences from enjoying eating good foods, supporting local started consuming olive oil was the awareness of olive oils health
economy, supporting local farmers, supporting friends, having benets. It was noted that only some, and not all consumers were
good environments and safer foods, which ultimately was linked prompted to use olive oil due to their family already using olive oil
to one particular attribute: locally made. It can be seen too that, when they were still living at home, and a great deal of those con-
for instance, several different values such as buy California, food sumers came from the group who consumed imported olive oils.
M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316 309

Health Quality of life


conscious Stay
active 11.1%
7.4% 7.4%
Function 7.4%
Maintain
better *14.8% Happiness Exciting life
health
14.8%
7.4%
11.1% Family life Pleasure
*18.5% Avoid health 7.4%
problems 7.4%
44.4%
7.4% 7.4% 7.4%
*33.3% 7.4%
7.4% 7.4%
*22.2% Live long Sharing
meals Enjoy eating Reminds
Lower Enjoy
good foods of memories
cholesterol life

48.1%
11.1% *25.9% *33.3% 7.4% Try new
Continue Enhance
things
Health tradition food
benefits 14.8% flavor *70.4%
*7.4%

25.9% 18.5% 7.4% Enjoy


48.1% cooking
Monounsaturated fat Healthier oil
Tradition Function Flavor
7.4%

represents weak indirect link only


represents direct link unless marked with * Attribute Consequence Value
* represents both direct and indirect links

Fig. 3. Hierarchical value map for olive oil consumption motivations for imported extra virgin olive oil.

Most consumers purchased their extra virgin olive oils in the confessed not knowing the price, but 1 l was the most commonly
supermarket and farmers markets or specialty/gourmet stores. It bought volume. Based on those who could provide an estimate,
is interesting to note that consumers who consumed only imported $1215.99 was the highest price range cited, by 41% of the con-
extra virgin olive oils had a greater tendency to purchase their ex- sumers with 500 and 750 mL being most often bought; $10
tra virgin olive oils from supermarket and warehouse clubs than 11.99 was the second highest cited price range by about 35% of
the other two consumer segments. Consumers who consumed the consumers with 750 mL the most commonly chosen size;
both imported and local extra virgin olive oils had a greater ten- and $1620.99 was the third highest cited by about 27% of the con-
dency to purchase more at supermarkets than at farmers markets. sumers, again with 750 mL as the most commonly bought size. The
Consumers who consumed only locally made extra virgin olive oils most cited expensive price range consumers spent for an extra vir-
had greater tendency to buy extra virgin olive oils at farmers mar- gin olive oil was $1620.99. The most common size bought was
kets than the other two consumer segments. 500 mL. Two other sizes of 375 and 750 mL were also mentioned
Cooking was cited as the most common use of olive oil along for this price range. The second price range cited as being most
with condiments and sauces cited as the next two most common expensive ever bought was $2630.99 and the corresponding vol-
uses. Still about 60% of the consumers mentioned having olive oil ume was 500 mL. For the price range of $2125.99, the third most
as dipping oil for bread and an even lesser percentage of about commonly cited, 375 mL was the most commonly bought volume.
30% of the consumers used olive oil for baking. About 90% of the
consumers mentioned reading the front and/or back label of the ol-
ive oil product prior to choosing an olive oil to buy. Local extra vir- 4. Discussion
gin olive oil consumers seemed to have the tendency of all
consumer groups to read product labels all of the times. And the The main goal of this study was to nd out what attributes of
top ve information items of interest when reading the label were extra virgin olive oil products formed the basis of consumer con-
whether or not the olive oil was extra virgin, where it was made sumption and purchase behaviors and what consequences and per-
(whether it was local or imported), whether or not it was an organ- sonal values were associated with these attributes, and to utilize
ic oil, how it was processed (whether it was cold pressed or not), these results to conrm the exit survey results. Three different con-
and descriptions of the olive oil avors. sumer groups were studied based on the origin of the extra virgin
When asked the typical price range and corresponding size/vol- olive oils purchased and consumed. The number of consumers who
ume of the olive oil that consumers spent for the olive oils they consumed only local extra virgin olive oils was slightly lower than
purchased for their own consumption, nearly 40% of all consumers recommended, hence we acknowledge the possibility that should
310 M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316

Save Function Feel good Family life


money better

Quality of
life
17.4% *17.4% 8.7%
8.7%
8.7% Maintain 13.0% Live Enjoy Pleasure
health long life
26.1% Sharing
*30.4% meals
13.0%
*17.4% 13.0%
Avoid health *30.4% 8.7%
problems
*13.0% Enjoy eating
21.7% good foods

8.7% 21.7%
Health
benefits Enjoy Enhance food
cooking flavor
*13.0% *56.5%
8.7%
43.5%
Monounsaturated fat 13.0%
Healthier oil
Flavor

represents weak indirect link only


represents direct link unless marked with * Consequence Value
Attribute
* represents both direct and indirect links

Fig. 4. Hierarchical value map for olive oil consumption motivations for both imported and locally made extra virgin olive oil.

Environmental
caring

23.1%

Pleasure Good
environment

30.8%
15.4%
Support local
Enjoy eating Can use for Less shipping farmers
good foods cooking

15.4%
15.4% 15.4% 23.1%
53.8% 15.4%

Less flavor Cheaper / Locally made Personal


Flavor
on sale connection

represents weak indirect link only


represents direct link unless marked with * Attribute
Att Consequence Value
* represents both direct and indirect links

Fig. 5. Hierarchical value map for olive oil purchase motivations for locally made extra virgin olive oil.
M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316 311

the same population be re-sampled, the results might be slightly was the fact that there were less subjects in that particular con-
different. However, we also would like to point out that our survey sumer group than the recommended 20 for laddering research
research (unpublished) sampling a larger number of consumers (Reynolds, Dethloff, & Westberg, 2001). There was more variance
from the same population (i.e. nearly 180 subjects three times with the elicited attributes, benets and values with the smaller
more than the current one) also resulted in a similar proportion number of subjects. The lower observed number of American
of consumer groups (about 20% of American consumers consuming consumers who consumed only local extra virgin olive oil was
only local/California produced extra virgin olive oils). Hence, we consistent with a quantitative survey research carried out in our
believe the proportions observed here were representative of the laboratory. In this survey, nearly three times the number of
current consumer population sampled. subjects were sampled (i.e. nearly180 subjects). Yet, the same
Overall, the HVMs for consumption motivations were simpler distribution of consumer segments based on the origin of the olive
than the HVMs for purchase motivations. More attributes, conse- oil consumed was observed. Therefore, we believe this consumer
quences and values were elicited for purchasing behavior than con- segmentation was still useful and relevant to understand the
sumption behavior. This may indicate that purchasing behavior potential consumption and purchase behavior differences among
could be a more complex or involved activity than consumption American consumers.
behavior for this particular food product. From the HVM of consum- A means-end chain study with pork in Sweden found that con-
ers who purchased both local and imported oil, it was discovered sumers produced few ladders and most ladders were incomplete
that extra virgin olive oil could be used for general cooking purpose (Lind, 2007). The author concluded that in general pork has the
and for a special occasion. One attribute differing in strengths or characteristics of low involvement products due to the incomplete-
intensities was associated with each purpose of use: less avor ness of the ladders, and is neither of a think nor feel product.
and avor respectively. The HVM conrmed the exit survey results Think products tend to be purchased for their functional perfor-
observed that although most consumers used olive oil for cooking, mance or based on cost and benet and tangible objective product
they also used it for other non-cooking purposes such as condi- qualities whereas feel products tend to be purchased for satisfy-
ments in salad dressings, or dipping oils albeit to a lesser extent. ing emotional wants or based on intangible product features and
Therefore, depending on the purpose of use, a set of considered fac- affective motives (Claeys, Swinnen, & Vanden Abeele, 1995). This
tors for each purpose were weighed out prior to purchase decision research shows that olive oil can be positioned as either a low
making. This resulted in greater complexities of purchasing motiva- involvement product or a high involvement product or both since
tions depending on consumption purposes. Guo (2006) pointed out olive oils with different qualities and properties were associated
that when purchase and consumption decisions are separated in with different uses: either general cooking or special purpose or
time and when future utility is state dependent, consumers may both. Olive oil products used for cooking could be seen as a low
desire to pursue consumption exibility by purchasing different involvement product and / or a think product in which, ironi-
products together (multiple buying). Holbrook, Lehman, and cally, the tangible objective product qualities (i.e. avor) were
OShaughnessy (1986) pointed out that the consumption experi- not important because this product had only utilitarian value to
ence (using) may affect future purchase (choosing) decision. The consumers as cooking oil. On the other hand, olive oil used for
means-end chains results ascertained our early assumption that non-cooking purposes or for special occasions could be seen as a
purchase and consumption activities would be based on slightly higher involvement product and/or a feel product because it pro-
different motivations. vided hedonic enjoyment, or satised emotional needs for caring
Different levels of abstractions were found among the consumer for the environment or supporting friends, for instance. Indeed,
segments and within consumer segments. For example, although Kuenzel and Musters (2007) found that, among Finnish consumers,
similar attributes were identied across the three consumer seg- everyday foods commonly thought to be low involvement products
ments, a few did not reach the value level of abstraction in one actually had varying degrees of involvement, depending on the
or two segments. Both HVM for consumption and purchasing mo- food product. An exploratory analysis testing the effects of the
tives were simpler for local extra virgin olive oil consumers than strengths of the associations between the means-end elements
the other two segments. The differences in the abstraction levels on brand persuasion found that the differences in brand persuasion
could also be due to the level of consumer involvement with the explained by two-way vs. three-way vs. four-way associations
product (Pieters et al., 1995). The more involved the consumers were not statistically signicant (Reynolds et al., 1995). Therefore,
or the more knowledge consumers had about the product, the lar- it was decided to present some redundancies in the HVM to show
ger the number of chains that would be elicited by the subjects that the constructs were rather similar across consumer segments.
(Gengler & Reynolds, 1995). It would be difcult to conclude that Despite of the slight differences in the level of abstractions, the
the consumers who purchased and consumed only local extra vir- HVMs present insights on how to utilize the product attributes
gin olive oils were not involved or not too knowledgeable about and benets to strategize the positioning messages for different ol-
this product category as they tended to read product labels all ive oil products, and the personal values and goals to design effec-
the times as pointed out by the exit survey results, and they were tive product advertisement (Costa, Dekker, & Jongen, 2004).
most likely at one point consumers who consumed and purchased The Flavor attribute appeared in both the consumption and
imported oils, given that the proliferation of California extra virgin purchase motivations. The thicker arrow following avor for
olive oil had just recently begun. Therefore, hypothetically con- consumption motivation across the consumer segments also
sumers who now consumed only local extra virgin olive oils would underlies the importance of this attribute for consumption. It
be more knowledgeable about extra virgin olive oil products than points out the importance of sensory characteristics for consumer
only imported extra virgin olive oil consumers, and at least pos- behavior as numerous sensory studies in the past have (Meiselman
sessed similar level of knowledge as consumers who consumed & MacFie, 1996).
both imported and local extra virgin olive oils. It was possible that The avor and less avor attributes appeared for consumers who
the differences in the level of abstraction were due to the level of consumed only local extra virgin olive oils. These consumers
articulation by some of the consumers who sometimes made the seemed to be able to distinguish the olive oil avor differences
assumptions that their statements were self-evident and that it because they normally purchased two types of locally made extra
was not necessary to elaborate further. However, the more likely virgin olive oils: the more expensive ones at the farmers market
reason for the lesser abstraction level observed among consumers out of personal connections to the producers or as a way to care
who purchased and consumed only local extra virgin olive oils for the environment, and the cheaper, bulk extra virgin olive oil that
312 M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316

Financial
responsibility

18.5%
Money available
for other things
*22.2% *25.9%

*14.8% 14.8%
Pleasure
Save money *33.3%

Italian identity
11.1%
11.1%
*14.8%
*18.5% Follow Convenient
Enjoy eating shopping
good foods budget

*29.6%
11.1% *18.5%
*11.1%
Support local Less shipping
14.8% Can use farmers
for
7.4%
Enhance food cooking
flavors
11.1%
14.8% 11.1% 7.4%
*22.2% 11.1%

Flavor Big Cheaper / Reasonable Locally Good Italian


quantity on sale price made quality oil

represents weak indirect link only


represents direct link unless marked with * Attribute Consequence Value
* represents both direct and indirect links

Fig. 6. Hierarchical value map for olive oil purchase motivations for imported extra virgin olive oil.

is locally made and sold at small, specialty grocery store, or the likely to consume olive oil as a dipping oil than the other two con-
cheaper, locally made olive oils sold on-sale at the supermarket sumer segments as pointed out by the exit survey.
out of the need to have a general purpose cooking oil. The exit sur- The additional non-sensory attributes uncovered during this re-
vey results were conrmed by the means-end chains outcomes, search also highlighted the importance of understanding how sen-
where the top three locations of purchase of olive oil were super- sory characteristics interact with non-sensory factors and affect
market, farmers market and specialty/gourmet store; the highest consumer food choice behavior. A number of non-sensory factors
chosen activity for using olive oil was cooking, and, and the size affecting choice behavior have been illustrated in consumer mod-
most typically bought was bigger than the most expensive extra els (Connors, Bisogni, Sobal, & Devine, 2001; Mullen & Johnson,
virgin olive oil ever bought (e.g. 750 mL vs. 375 mL and 500 mL. 1990) and selected aspects of how these non-sensory factors (e.g.
Likewise, consumers who consumed both imported and locally price, production technology, convenience, personal health, brand-
made extra virgin olive oils seemed to be able to distinguish the ing and societal issue) affect peoples decision in food choice have
quality differences between imported and locally made extra vir- been reviewed (Jaeger, 2006).
gin olive oils. This is because these consumers were most likely In this research, non-sensory factors such as price seemed to af-
used to the mild or less taste of imported, cheaper, big quantity extra fect imported extra virgin olive oil buyers much more than the lo-
virgin olive oil they bought at a warehouse club such as Costco, for cal olive oil purchasers as the former segment had thicker arrows
instance, or the imported, cheaper, bulk extra virgin olive oil at the and various consequences following the cheaper attribute whereas
supermarket or small, specialty grocery store, for cooking, and the the locally made extra virgin olive oil buyers had the avor attri-
stronger avored extra virgin olive oils they tasted or sampled at butes with much thicker arrows following after than the cheaper
the farmers market for special occasion such as condiments, attribute. This in a way can be conrmed by perceptual orientation
sauces or bread dipping. The fact that this consumer segment also from the consumers who purchased both local and imported extra
perceived the locally made olive oil as good quality olive oil is an- virgin olive oils. They probably had a middle-of-the-road percep-
other indication of their awareness that some quality differences tual orientation as a result of the involvement with the two differ-
existed between the two types of products. ent types of extra virgin olive oils. It can be seen from Fig. 7 that
The less avor attribute did not appear among consumers who avor, locally made and cheaper had almost equally-thick arrows
purchased only imported oil because more likely the imported ol- with avor being slightly thicker. Again, the avor being slightly
ive oils they consumed had a mild avor to begin with. The less a- more important for this consumer segment than price could possi-
vor in the olive oil might prompt this consumer segment to be less bly signify that they were able to differentiate avors of extra
M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316 313

Pleasure Buy California Food security Financial responsibility

13.0%
Enjoy eating good 8.7% 8.7% 17.4%
foods *34.8%
Support local Safer Environmental Money
economy foods caring available
for other things
*39.1%
26.1%
Use for
special 17.4%
occasion Enhance 13.0% 26.1%
*13.0% 8.7% 13.0%
food
flavor Support *13.0%
local Good Follow
farmers environment budget *13.0%
Less
8.7% *21.7% pesticides
13.0% 30.4% 8.7% 13.0% Save
Good 13.0% money
26.1%
quality
Organic Can use for
Loyalty cooking
*34.8% 13.0%

Flavor 13.0%
13.0% 8.7%
*30.4%
8.7% Support 21.7%
friends 8.7% 26.1%
Locally
made 17.4% Cheaper / Reasonable
Less Less Big
shipping flavor quantity on sale price

represents weak indirect link only


represents direct link unless marked with * Attribute Consequence Value
* represents both direct and indirect links

Fig. 7. Hierarchical value map for olive oil purchasing motivations for both imported and locally made extra virgin olive oil.

virgin olive oil better than the consumers who purchased and con- As consumers value nancial responsibility in controlling or bud-
sumed only imported extra virgin olive oils. geting their nances carefully, they were willing to spend more for
It can be seen across the three consumer segments that cheaper good quality, locally made olive oils or more expensive olive oils
extra virgin olive oil was perceived as something that is more with stronger avor when used for a special purpose, such as salad
appropriate for cooking purpose. This exit survey results pointed dressings or condiments. Opportunity exists to create extra virgin
out that 750 ml was one of the common sizes besides 500 ml that olive oil meant for special purpose use (e.g. extra virgin olive oil
was typically purchased by consumers for personal consumption. made with a variety of herbs or food ingredients), to expand the
Another consumer study for determining position strategies with lines of extra virgin olive oil products. The product label should
standard olive oil in the UK market, for example, also identied also carry some information that consumers found to be interest-
price with the highest relative importance and size with the second ing to help consumers make an informed purchase decision. A
highest relative importance (with 750 mL having the highest util- study of wine back labels found that certain information contained
ity among other sizes) (Martinez, Aragons, & Poole, 2002). Even in the label had a positive effect on consumer choice (Mueller,
when the consumers were segmented into three different proles Lockshin, Saltman, & Blanford, 2009).
of active olive oil consumers, sophisticated olive oil consumers and Memory has been reported to affect performance in sensory dis-
traditional olive oil consumers, price still had the highest relative crimination tests and descriptive analysis (Cubero, Avancini de Al-
importance compared to other attributes for each consumer clus- meida & OMahony, 1995). Its effect on the outcome of a consumer
ter. However, differences in the importance of size became more research is evidenced in this study. Some consumers purchased
apparent upon consumer segmentation. The sophisticated olive imported extra virgin olive oil products out of tradition, especially
oil consumers had size as the second important factor whereas those with Italian roots, to maintain some ties to their native coun-
the other two consumer segments had size and packaging with rel- try. The exit survey results agreed with the means-end chain anal-
atively comparable relative importance. In this research, the issue ysis that it was consumers who consumed imported extra virgin
of size did not appear among the locally made olive oil products olive oils who reported consuming extra virgin olive oils as part
because they probably tended not to buy the big quantity, com- of their traditions. This presents an opportunity to cultivate extra
mercial products that can be found in supermarkets or warehouse virgin olive oil consumption among American families with chil-
clubs. dren so that the children may continue to consume the American
314 M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316

Table 2
Examples of consumer interviews reecting the respective values.

Value Examples from interviews


Family life Because I have children and a grandchild. And I want to be here for twenty more years for sure, so I can enjoy all of that.
Well, I want to live a long time to see my children grow up... and be there for when they have special occassions and when they need me.
Cause I want to enjoy my life with my husband for as long as possible.
We want to live a long time to see my children grow up because children do better when their parents are around.
Pleasure Eating deliciuos food, eating well is very delightful.
Tasty food is my life. Its just part of the pleasure of the senses. Its part of life that I enjoy.
Olive oil is one of life pleasures and its a really positive one.
Because I love the taste of food and I want the food to taste good. Its one of lifes pleasure.
Its one of the pleasures of life to enjoy food and to enjoy good food.
Social company I grew up in a culture that it was very important to enjoy food and food was used as a way to bring people together.
Its important to us to eat dinner together. I think it helps with the harmony in the house.
I have some friends who also like good food and I know that if I put of these bottles of olive oil out for salad that they will appreciate it and it will
be an experience that we share.
In fact we try to have dinner together in my family. Dinner is an important moment in a family life where you can talk and things like that. When
you sit at the table, you have to have good things to eat.
Feel good It makes me feel good emotionally to be able to be capable and strong.
Thats what health is. Its feeling good.
I can live longer, and enjoy life and feel good.
I think its important to take care of yourself and to be healthy that so that I feel better.
I just like to be healthy. I like to feel good in my body.
I want to be able to be healthy while I am living day to day. So feeling better is good.
Happiness Enjoying food makes me happy.
The experience of eating and sharing good meals adds to a greater joy of life and happiness overall.
To feel satised when the avors come together and bring happiness to the desire for having consumed food.
Eating is one of those things in life which is a pleasure to do. It makes me happy.
Health conscious My lifestyle is to maintain health. I want to have excellent health as much as I can.
I have seen the problems that people with cardiac illnesses have and I am trying to avoid that.
I want to make sure that I stay as healthy as I can. And I have read studies and things that says its healthier for you to eat olive oil, and thats
what I have been doing.
I prefer staying healthy. Its good for your body.
Because we are health conscious.
Quality of life The artisan oil is higher quality. They taste better. And also I can taste distinctive avor. Its part of the quality of life.
I want the best quality of life that I can. And eating is a big part of that.
We are always responsible for our own health. Anything we can do to promote it, improve the quality of life.
Its part of quality of life to be healthy.
Exciting life To me, having a varied diet is to keep interests. Its also a creative outlet, to try new things, try new recipes, try new types of foods that maybe I
havent tried before.
I approach eating as an experiment. I might try to make a new meal.
Its just the interest in cooking and the interest in tyring out new cuisines, just exploring different things.
Italian identity You are supporting your own country. Its a form of nationalism and patriotism.
Its just my way of maintaining some sense of home.
Well, because... I trust them. I try to help my country.
Buy California I like the idea that I am buying something that is good for the country. Its good for the local farms. I love that.
I like supporting local producer. Its a good citizen thing.
Environmental I am an inhabitant of this planet. I think we all have to do our parts. We have to do everything we can to protect and preserve it.
caring I want to support those farmers that are doing that. It helps keep the environment cleaner. . . for the whole planet to survive.
Because its important to use as few resources as possible so that we can enjoy our lifestyle on our planet for as long as possible.
To be shipping things across all over the place... I dont like the environmental cost of doing that. A lot of times things suffer in the transit.
Financial Since I am on really tight budget, I need to be careful with my spendings.
responsibility Like nearly everybody, theres lots of things we need to spend money on and theres only so much money that we make, and so its just juggling.
Its part of... living rationally. You live within your income. You choose what sort of diet you want to consume.
To keep food cost in check is part of my overall attitude of thrift. Just tyring to get the most for my money. Its very important to live within our
means.
Loyalty Because my friend [. . .] makes it.
The oil I buy is because my friends make it. This is my very good friend and I really want to support them.
I like to buy from people that I want to support. I love it when I can say that olive oil came from my friends.
Food security If all of our local farmers went out of business, we have to import food from all over. If we are importing food from, say for example, Argentina,
and theres a civil war in Argentina, you cant get those farmers and farmland back overnight.
It came from one farm, more trusting...
It feels that I am eating safer food... I am not exposing myself to strange things that I dont know what they are...
We dont need any man-made toxins put on our food. We dont feel like we should be eating any kind of pesticide, herbicide, for our kids either.
We dont choose to buy the huge mass marketed oil. We dont know how they are treated. We dont know how they are produced.

made olive oil later on in their lives as part of the family tradition consumers lived either with a partner or spouse and/or with chil-
and a way to remember past memories and create future ones. dren or family. And although the family life value, which is about
Some of the values such as family life were apparent across the spending enjoyable times with family members or taking care of
three consumer segments. Table 3 shows that about 73% of the family, was mainly served through the health aspect of the olive
M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316 315

Table 3
Consumer demographics from telephone screening and exit survey.

Count Percentage Count Percentage


(%) (%)
Gender Female 40 63.5 Total household income level $19,999 and below 5 7.9
Male 23 36.5 $20,00049,999 11 17.5
Age group 2028 6 9.5 $50,00074,999 14 22.2
3240 8 12.7 $75,00099,999 8 12.7
4150 14 22.2 $100,000149,999 10 15.9
5159 20 31.9 $150,000 and above 11 17.5
6165 7 11.1 Prefer not to answer 4 6.3
6686 8 12.7 Highest education completed High school 1 1.6
Ethnicity / Race Caucasian 56 88.9 Some college 8 12.7
Pacic islander 1 1.6 Bachelor degree 11 17.5
Asian 2 3.2 Some graduate work 7 11.1
Mixed 4 6.3 Master degree 19 30.1
Occupation category Government/ 22 34.9 Professional degree 10 15.9
state
Homemaker 3 4.8 PhD 7 11.1
Non-prot 3 4.8 Marital status Single 8 13.0
Private 3 4.8 Single living with a partner 4 6.0
Retired 12 19.0 Married with children 28 44.0
Self employed 12 19.0 Married with no children 8 13.0
Graduate student 4 6.3 Divorced or separated 10 16.0
Undergraduate 3 4.8 Widowed 5 8.0
student
Job hunter 1 1.6 # Of children under 18 years in 0 44 69.8
Home ownership status Renting 12 19.0 household 1 10 15.9
Own 30 47.6 2 9 14.3
Mortgage 19 30.2 Home living status Alone 9 14.3
Lease 2 3.2 With roommates 8 12.7
Number of years living in Up to 10 8 12.7 With partner or spouse only 18 28.6
California 1120 5 8.0 With children only 6 9.5
2130 12 19.0 With spouse and children 21 33.3
3140 18 28.6 With parents, grandparents or 1 1.6
extended family
4150 8 12.7 Origin From U.S. 55 87.3
5159 12 19.0 From outside U.S. 8 12.7

oil, an opportunity exists to utilize avor as a means to help people Consumers who purchased and consumed local extra virgin ol-
achieve this family life value as well as by having people share ive oils as part of their diet (i.e. the consumer group who only con-
meals, as seen among the imported extra virgin olive oil consum- sumed local extra virgin olive oils and the group who consumed
ers. And for those who live alone, sharing meals can be utilized to both local and imported extra virgin olive oils) seemed to be more
fulll the value of social company. likely to be motivated in their purchase behavior by other indirect
Only some consumers mentioned some of the actual extra vir- product attributes and consequences (e.g. personal connections and
gin olive oil components that could potentially provide them with supporting friends). Consumers who purchased and consumed im-
health benets (i.e. monounsaturated fat, phenolics) whereas the ported extra virgin olive oils as part of their diet seemed to be more
rest of the consumers just perceived olive oil as healthier than but- motivated by the critical non-sensory factor of price than any other
ter or other vegetable oils. Efforts to help consumers better under- non-sensory factors.
stand extra virgin olive oils bioactive components and their health Extra virgin olive oil could function both as a low and high
benets should be undertaken to ensure continued use of extra vir- involvement product depending on how it is being used. Certain
gin olive oil among current consumers and to recruit potential con- product attributes associated with extra virgin olive oils as a low
sumers who have not yet incorporated extra virgin olive oil in their involvement product were cheaper/on sale, reasonable price, big
culinary practices or diet. quantity/bulk size, and less avor. These attributes allowed consum-
ers to follow budget or save money so that money would be available
for other things, which in turn helped consumers fulll their nancial
5. Conclusions responsibilities. Product attributes associated with extra virgin olive
oil as a high involvement product were more avor, more expensive,
The laddering interview and means-end chains research, and smaller size. Extra virgin olive oil in this category was associ-
undertaken to investigate Northern California consumers moti- ated mostly with providing pleasure.
vations to consume and purchase extra virgin olive oil, success- Because this research had one of the consumer segments (i.e. lo-
fully identied attributes, consequences and values that are cally produced extra virgin olive oil consumers), with a relatively
relevant to this consumer behavior. This research method fo- low number of consumers (n = 13), we acknowledge that should
cused on understanding the individual consumer as a person. the same population be re-sampled, the results might potentially
The ndings pointed out that despite the different levels of be different. Nevertheless, the research still managed to point out
abstraction, the main purpose of uncovering the motivations that the origin of olive oil is an important variable for extra virgin
underlying consumer behavior related to consumption and pur- olive oil products. Different origins had certain associated attri-
chase could still be fullled. This research also pointed out the butes. For the California olive oil industry to continue to grow, it
benets of having a short exit survey to add information regard- needs to strengthen its image through consumer education about
ing consumer habits. the product qualities of California made extra virgin olive oils.
316 M. Santosa, J.-X. Guinard / Food Quality and Preference 22 (2011) 304316

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