Influence of packaging attributes on consumer evaluation of fresh cod
Packaging attributes have an important role in attracting consumer attention, creating expectations and influencing food choice. In this study, conjoint and cluster analysis were used to investigate the importance of visual attributes (packaging shape and colour) and informational attributes (freshness indicators, shelf life and freshness statements, convenience and taste information) for fresh cod. The consumer segments were profiled using individual consumer characteristics. A conjoint analysis of a nationwide representative sample of 503 Norwegian consumers revealed that the informational attributes were more important than the visual attributes. The most important factors for consumers when choosing cod fillets were two freshness attributes (with a total relative importance value of 45%). Cognitive freshness information was found to be more important than affective information. A cluster analysis of the part-worth utility scores revealed three clusters: packaging, quality and convenience. The packaging segment was the largest (with approximately 50% of the consumers) and the consumers in this segment preferred the visual attributes of shape and colour. The results of an ANOVA performed on the measurements of the individual characteristics revealed significant differences among the segment profiles. The findings of this study can be used by the seafood industry to design packaging for cod products that better match consumers’ needs and expectations.