Packaging format preferences evaluated in study

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

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Conjoint analysis used in packaging formats research
Conjoint analysis used in packaging formats research
Packaging format plays an important role in consumer choice when it comes to Iberian dry-cured ham according to a conjoint analysis (CA) conducted by researchers.

Mesias et al used conjoint analysis to examine a new packaging format (“slice slab”) for dry-cured meat products that aims to overcome certain conventional problems.

Other packaging formats included conventional sliced ham and unsliced slab ham and other parameters included the origin, type of ham and price.

Consumer preferences

Consumers were split into three clusters, those who attached the greatest importance to the type of ham and lowest to the packaging format (traditional customers) and another which saw price as the highest importance and lowest to type of ham and origin (innovative customers).

Cluster three (price-insensitive consumers) identified to packaging format and origin and lowest importance to price.

Packaging format the most important attribute for price-insensitive consumers or the second most for innovative consumers but traditional customers gave low important to this area.

Innovative consumers were the only group to have the greatest preference for the sliced slab ham, with the other two preferring the conventionally sliced product.

Packaging format

In the new format, once the product has finished its traditional curing, it is cut into slices and several slices are vacuum-packed together in the form of a slab with a polyethylene wrap so that the final appearance is reminiscent of the product obtained after processing, said the researchers.

The product selected for analysis was Iberian dry-cured ham, as it is the most frequently consumed Iberian pork product.

Its high price demands packaging that allows the consumer to purchase small amounts of ham, while also ensuring its optimal conservation.

They are usually marketed in a whole-piece format or sliced in vacuum-packed trays, but both of these formats present problems, including difficulty slicing the whole piece and loss of sensory properties once the vacuum-packed tray is opened.

Survey logistics

The survey was carried out from January to May 2010. Of the 379 completed questionnaires obtained, 59 had to be discarded for a variety of reasons (mainly incomplete responses).

The project was supported and funded by the Extremaduran Regional Government and the European Regional Development Fund through the Research Project PDT06A032.

“This is of great interest in planning to bring new packaging formats to market since consumers' willingness-to-pay can be evaluated beforehand​,” the researchers concluded.

Source: Journal of Sensory Studies

Online ahead of print, DOI: 10.1111/joss.12040

Evaluation of New Packaging Formats for Dry-Cured Meat Products Using Conjoint Analysis: An Application to Dry-Cured Iberian Ham”

Authors: Francisco J. Mesías, Francisco Pulido, Miguel Escribano, Paula Gaspar, Ángel F. Pulido, Alfredo Escribano, Antonio Rodríguez-Ledesma

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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