An empirical examination of the determinants of honey consumption in Romania
While not much attention has been paid in the international literature to the consumption of premium food products with enhanced quality properties in Central-Eastern European Countries (CEECs), the present survey aims to investigate consumer behaviour in Romania as regards 'honey' as an example of such a product. The research concludes that, despite the changes in eating habits induced by changes in the retail environment, honey remains a popular product, the purchase of which in bulk from producers and in open markets is still the dominant trend. The survey further identifies four main dimensions of honey-purchasing motivation: medical benefits of its consumption, dietary quality, ethical character of honey and suitability with food consumption lifestyle. Using these dimensions validated by factor analysis, three clusters of honey consumers in Romania emerged through cluster analysis: the common consumers, the younger consumers indifferent towards honey and the enthusiastic consumers, who are also more willing to pay premium prices for the organic type of honey. If the first segment may be the keenest on competitive prices, quality differentiation strategies can target the enthusiastic honey consumers. The distinctive features of Romanian consumers also include a low attention paid to labels, related in a low awareness of the energy content of honey. Quality cues are defined by search attributes of the bulk product (colour, taste, aroma, thickness), rather than credence attributes (warranties, brand name, country-of-origin). Marketers targeting this market should be aware of this scepticism towards label information, which necessitates more communication effort to built consumer trust.