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Dissertation on Investigating how breakfast cereal packaging influences purchasing intention of consumers with different demographic profile.
Influence of Breakfast Cereal Packaging on Purchasing Intention of Consumers with Different Demographic Profile
Abstract The study focuses on the influence of packaging on the purchasing intention of consumers with different demographic profile. The research focuses on three packaging factors – package size, package design, informational elements. From the focus group it was found that female participants focus more on informational elements of packaging such as product information rather than package size and package design. The male participants on the other hand, were more concerned about package size. Size of income was found both on focus group and survey as a very important factor in choosing which products to purchase. With respect to the influence of children on the purchase decision of the parents, both focus group and the survey results reveal that indeed children has very high influence on the decision of parents. Parents add that their children come first on their shopping list especially for those working parents. The importance of package size and its influence on the purchase decision of consumers when buying breakfast cereals were not established. In both focus group and survey, package size is viewed as not an important factor which is unlikely to elicit changes in purchase behavior among consumers should a change in package size is introduced. Package design on the other hand is considered as having a high influence in the purchase of breakfast cereal. However, package design is not viewed by the respondents as a major factor in their purchase decision. The informational elements of breakfast cereal package is viewed as a very important factor which is very influential in the respondents’ purchase decision. The effectiveness of packaging as a bearer and communicator of the company’s brand image both in the case of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut and Weetabix was not established. 1.0 Introduction
Packaging as we know it today has undergone different evolutions. It emerged in the 19th century as a result of the rise of new technologies that enabled manufacturers to produce products to stores in pre-packaged forms. In the early days, packaging’s role was essentially utilitarian. It aided the efficient distribution of merchandise and presented products in an attractive manner. To this day, these basic functions play a major part in the form and function of packaging. It is now recognized that packaging is no longer a passive functional device but an active sales tool that can make its presence felt in a crowd, and sell a product at the point of purchase. Packaging is often the loving embodiment of a brand’s values and personality. Time and effort is spent defining these attributes and traits, understanding consumers’ perceptions of them, then manipulating packaging design to communicate them. Packaging also plays an important part in differentiating a product from others. Packaging’s role has also extended in response to consumers’ changing lifestyles (Calver 2004).
Product packages shield the contents but also contribute importantly to consumer instinctive judgment of the brand and product (Gelinas 1996). A strong package according to Doyle (1996) is influential today and is likely to be even more so in the more person-responsive marketplace of the twenty-first century. Consumers are progressively more skilful at making purchase decisions based on facts accessible on the package or at the point of sale. They are making more broad marketplace decisions about what works best for them and what is best appropriate to their needs or preferences. Thus, they customarily make lifestyle and use-benefit choices between packages.
The motivation for conducting a research on the influence of packaging on the consumers’ intention to buy came from the researcher’s own experience. The researcher observed while shopping in a supermarket that there are certain products that catches her attention while others do not. The researcher attributed this to the packaging of the products. Some products are packaged in such a way that they capture the attention and interest of the consumers. Because of this interest, the researcher carried out a secondary research and found out that there is insufficient evidence to suggest the relationship between packaging and consumer behavior. Thus, the research is intended to explore this relationship with the focus on breakfast cereal products, namely Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut and Weetabix. The researcher chose to focus on this category because of the limited body of research that was done on Breakfast Cereal products. The reason for choosing these brands is because of their popularity among consumers and their wide presence in super-markets and groceries. The researcher also chose these brands because she is familiar with them due to her constant consumption of these products.
According to Zyman and Brott (2002) packaging used to exist solely to keep the product inside it from getting dirty, broken or contaminated. Overtime, marketers began to see packaging as a tool in marketing and advertising. Packaging is now being used as last-minute advertising. Contemporary packaging attracts attention, soothes, agitates, urges, and most importantly communicates information about the product it contains and about the brand.
According to Moskowitz et al (2005), packaging has become an important part of almost every aspect of production and consumption. Virtually everything grown or manufactured is packaged in some fashion. Packaging is essential for our modern lifestyles. Packaging plays a variety of roles. Some package design elements are optional and used for aesthetic value whereas other package elements are required for functionality (Lingle 2003). Beyond their roles in aesthetics, manufacturability and functional tasks, product protection and rational packing, package features are, above all, powerful marketing instruments for products and brands. A package in general, must meet three criteria:
1. It must protect the product from physical, chemical, and microbiological invasion.
2. It must provide a medium for presenting advertising messages and other important information to consumers.
3. It is one of the greatest influences on a consumer’s decision to try a product.
For many fast-moving consumer goods, the package is the first knowledge a consumer has with the product. For this cause, at the spot of purchase the package must present the product to consumers in an eye-catching and pleasing form, that is, reflect the excellence of the product. A successful package communicates the product’s approximate value.
1.4 Objective of the study
The objective posed in this document is:
I. To study and discuss the Influence of Breakfast Cereal Packaging on Purchasing Intention of Consumers with Different Demographic Profile.
1.4 Questions to be investigated
The research questions will lay emphasis on breakfast cereal packaging and seeks to answer three key enquiries within the overall objective of the study. These questions are:
1. How does package design and product information influence women’s and men’s purchasing decision within a certain age group (18-50) in respect to breakfast cereal (Kellogg’s crunchy nut and weetabix)?
2. Does income level have any effect on consumer’s purchasing intention when shopping for breakfast cereal (Kellogg’s crunchy nut and weetabix)?
3. What are the effects of package design and product information on Kellogg’s crunchy nut and weetabix brand image and brand personality?
2. Literature Review
This part of the proposal will review the theories, concepts, and issues that are relevant to the objectives and research questions. This section will discuss the elements of packaging: visual elements and product information, demographics, brand image and finally brand personality.
Packaging has become one of the most essential characteristics in achieving success in product selling. Today, companies are keener on creating packaging that well best represent their products and communicate to the consumers. Studies support the notion that packaging has influence on the decision-making process of consumers at stores where purchase decisions are made. Thus, packaging has evolved from just something that was used to cover and protect the product that it contains to a marketing tool.
Packaging was first used with the protection of the product it holds in mind. Good packaging protects the product against loss and damage and at the same time, it preserves the quality of the product inside. For many years this served as the sole usage of package, but as time went by, marketers and companies began to see the importance of packaging in communicating to the consumers. According to Ben (2006) the marketing filed views packaging as a marketing tool. For marketers, packaging is a complex combination of imagery and messaging that captures the essence of the product itself. Ben (2006) also adds that consumers are affected by the packaging of a product. Consumers are more critical when it comes to packaging, using it as a point of comparison between products. Packaging affects consumer perceptions of the product and the brand. Packaging from this point of view can be considered as a tool in delivering product value, which affects consumer purchase decision.
According to Refresh studios (2009) Packaging design which includes, shape, size, colour, graphics and box design are believed to have an impact in consumer preference. Consumers may make purchase decisions base on packaging size that promises comparative lower price and greater value for money. Larger packages and larger serving sizes may encourage greater consumption. Box design is customised to meet specific needs, such as effects of bumps and vibrations as a result of transportation. Package shape also has its influence on consumer purchase decision. An effective package shape can reflect an innovative, consistent brand image that may be viewed and used by consumers to be more as a piece of equipment and belongings to satisfy psychological needs(Refresh studios,2009)
2.2 Elements of Packaging
The elements of packaging can be divided into two – visual elements and informational elements. Visual elements comprise graphics, colour, sizes, box design and shape. Informational elements include product information and technology (Pinya and Mark 2004). The research will focus on these two elements
According to Ranjit (2002) People now make decisions on what they see, whereby an image influences their purchase. Manufacturers have capitalise on the issue that customers are always in a hurry to purchase goods ,so they make it more attractive to capture their emotions .As the term goes “consumers see first and ask questions later” as pointed out by Ranjit (2002).
According to Pinya and Mark (2004) the package’s overall elements can portray the distinctiveness and originality of the product. In totaling, quality decisions are highly prejudiced by product uniqueness shown by packaging. If it communicates high quality, consumers are of the assumption that the product is of high quality. If the package symbolizes low quality, consumers regards the product itself as low quality.
Monroe (2003), explains that there are several extrinsic cues that buyers use to perceive quality of products or services. This means that visual cues, such as packaging colour, graphics etc greatly influence a consumer’s initial acceptance of a product (Imram 1999). In respect to that, the importance of visual elements would be discussed below.
2.3 Influence of Visual Element
2.3.1 Package size
Looking at packaging in respect to the sizes, that is large and small, not much research has been done in respect to how it affects consumer’s usage volume as explained by Wansink (1996). The author argued that managers are beginning to speculate whether larger size of products increases the amount of usage of a product. Some managers are of the assumption that customers purchase larger size of products than smaller ones in respect to usage, but this has been a major issue of debate.
According to Wansink (1996) larger package encourages greater usage than smaller size. It is associated with lower unit cost which in turn affects usage volume. As a result if larger package sizes are associated with lower unit cost, then larger package size should stimulate greater usage volume than small sizes. In line with Wansink’s, Raghubir and Krishna (1996) posited out that size and shape emerge as a major dimension, because one way consumers appear to use this product is as a simplifying visual heuristic to make volume or dimension decisions.
Generally, consumers perceive elongated packages to contain larger contents, as a result of that package size gives such an impression and consumers tend to purchase products with larger packaging only to be left disappointed when their contents fail the consumer’s expectation.
This research is going to measure the effects of package sizes on consumer buying intention of Kellogg’s breakfast cereal and Weetabix. Below are pictures describing the different sizes of weetabix and Kellogg’s.
12 bite size 24 bite size
42 bite size 72 bite size
Fig 1(www.kellogs.com and www.weetabix.com )
2.3.2 Graphics, Fonts, Colors and Trademark
The design of packages which includes its graphics, fonts, colours and trademark, projects a brands image that says something about the user of the product, which is commonly referred to as a “badge product” as described by Wakefield et al.(2008).According to Wakefield et al.(2008) some products are banned from being advertised in some countries. For example the ban of advertising tobacco in Australia, has brought the use of more package design into limelight whereby the tobacco packaging design has become the primary vehicle for communicating the brand image. He further explained by saying the design of packaging helps at the point of sale.
According to Pinya and Mark (2004) packaging elements that have graphics and colour, shapes and size and product information are seen as important to consumers. In addition, product appearance may have an impact on product quality. They also suggest that without experience, consumers buy food by taking into consideration the appearance of the package reflecting premium quality and nice packaging design can influence their decision making. They also reflected on packages that are made of high quality material with neat design as it influences their buying decision, because to them it will not deny the fact that the product is premium. Finally it was said by some of the participants that even though it is hard to define quality, they believe that a well designed package helps them in being more confident about the product. Looking at the pictures in fig1, the packaging designs of Kellogg’s describes the quality of the product and also sends a message of early break, that is, the yellow colours which signifies sunshine. In respect to weetabix, the yellow colour also signifies sunshine and the wheat shows the healthy nature of the breakfast. This research will focus on how visual elements affect the purchasing intention of consumers.
2.4 Influence of Product information
Consumers are much concerned about what they consume these recent times due to health issues. According to Peters-Texeira et al (2005), ‘food labelling’ was an important factor influencing food choices, whether when they purchase the product the first time or when they repeat their purchase.
Product labels are believed to potentially play an important role in influencing decision-making. According to Turner (1995), people take note of food labels more than is generally thought. Some of the labeling information is used some of the time, circumstances dictate what details are used at any one time, different people look for different things, and buying decisions are less to be swayed by labeling than by factors such as quality, value and price. Verbeke and Viaene (1999) argue that labels have the potential to sway perceptions of quality.
In terms of the package’s product information, the main concern is the provision of information required by the government and avoidance of misrepresentation. Indeed much legislation has been passed to protect consumers from misrepresentation. According to Food standard agency(1996) in united kingdom, the name of the food ,a list of ingredients (including food allergens) ,the amount of an ingredient which is named or associated with the food ,an appropriate durability indication (e.g. ‘best before’ or ‘use by’) ,any special storage conditions or instructions for use ,the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or retailer ,the place of origin (where failure to do so might mislead) must be present. As a result of that this research would investigate the importance of product information, which leads us to the effects of demographics on packaging
According to Johnson and Learned (2004), women are interested in information; they consider product benefits and features as important information in their decision to purchase a product. Most female consumers approach new product purchasing decisions with the desire to educate themselves for future reference. Johnson and learned (2004) suggest that the brand that delivers benefits women desire, in language they can relate to, will end up in their shopping cart.
According to Pinya and Mark (2004) a study was carried out directed to participants who carried out household shopping, in which they concluded that in most countries women carry out household shopping and they remain the decision makers for mostly packaged food products. In addition packaging elements are considered as the main factors in female consumer’s assessment and decision making on household purchase
Published statistics vary slightly but in general it is recognized that women account for between 80 and 85 percent of all consumer purchases (Riechheld, 2007). With this tremendous influence in purchasing, it follows that women also have tremendous influence on packaging. Women according to research have strong ideas about what they want in packaging. Research indicates that women know exactly what appeals to them. In accordance to this information, this research will look at the effects of women’s purchasing intention on breakfast cereal.
There are differences in the packaging requirements between male and female consumers. While women tend to value detailed information, men on the other hand, seek for pure and simple information as well as evidence as to the quality of the product(Haugtvedt et al, 2008). In general, there are several criteria that men use in inspecting packaging. These are:
· Convenience – the package must hold just the right amount of the product to satisfy the needs of the user.
· Adaptability – the package must fit the space which such a product should be kept.
· Security – the package must assure consumers that the product is of high quality.
· Status or Prestige – consumers must feel that the package enables them to express something about themselves.
· Dependability – the package must cause consumers to feel that they can depend on the product and its manufacturers.
· Aesthetic – the design, shape, and colour of the package must be aesthetically pleasing (Haugtvedt et al, 2008)
In respect to these criteria, this research would determine the effect of men purchasing intention on breakfast cereal.
The choice of decision made by parents when purchasing breakfast cereal depends mostly on the need of their children in most cases. According to Medeksiene et al (2008) children are no longer passive observers when it comes to family decision making process; they now have a major influence on their parental purchasing. They went further to say that there are also factors having an impact on a child’s influence on a family purchase decision, which are type of products, decision stage, a family, parental and child demographics and others.
In respect to the study above this research will also study the influence of children on the purchasing decision of parents.
2.5.4 Income level in respect to Purchase Intention
Brand behavior intentions shows how much a customer values a brand and is demonstrated by the brand purchase intentions (Kumar 2008), According to Diet blog (2009) 30% of men and 29% women shows that price/value/money available for food has great effect on their choice of food.The EUFIC (2009) also pointed income as one of the determinants of food choices, they went further to say that low income earners consume unbalanced diet. As a result of this being a major determinant, this research would study the effect of income on the purchasing intention of breakfast cereal.
2.6 Influence of packaging on brand image and brand personality
2.6.1 Brand Image
Brand image refers to the set of associations that link customers with the brand (Keller 1993). Such brand associations – attributes, benefits, and attitudes linked to the brand – have the potential to influence customer decision making.
There is an increasing importance, which managers and marketers are giving to packaging. The term “brand image” gained its admiration as proof began to emerge that the feelings and images accompanied with a brand where powerful purchase influencers through brand recognition, recall and brand identity. In accordance with Asia market research (2003), Cindy claycomb (1997) pointed out that brand image create value for customers in five important ways which are:
- Retrieve and process information
- Differentiation and positioning of products
- Product attributes and customers benefits
- positive attitudes and feelings
- product extension
Riezebos (2003) summarized the importance of brand image as a mental picture that consumers have of a brand or branded article. He went further by defining brand image as a personal intellectual picture of a brand measured by a group of consumers. He further analyzed that the content of a brand image make reference to the alliance a brand name may cite. Some of the brands may arouse many associations while others may capture few (Riezebos, 2003).
Package design elements influence the consumer’s image perception of the product. These elements may range from communicating the perception of the products quality, its flavor, its efficacy, its efficiency, its gender relationship, or any number of characteristics about the product inside the package. Pictures and copy can communicate product imagery; packing materials can communicate product quality, freshness and product utilization; container shapes can communicate ease of handling, uniqueness, disposability, economy and luxury. Every element and every component of the package participates in sending messages to the consumer’s subconscious mind (Underwood, 2003)
In respect to that, this research will focus on the effects of package design and product information on Kellogg’s and weetabix brand image.
2.6.2 Brand personality
Packaging is considered as a symbol that represents the brand. Brand personality as defined by Gordon and Restall (1992); cited in Franzen (1999), displays the brands major attributes as detailed and knowledgeable in human terms. Keller (2008) further defined brand identity as the human elements or traits that consumers can attribute to a brand. He went further by explaining that if a brand where to come alive who will it be, such open- ended questions is the simplest and most direct way one can measure brand personality.
According to Christensen et al (2003) brand personality is about intuitive judgment (in the consumers opinion) about personality qualities attributed to brands, about associations and symbolic values and about emotional responses on the brand or emotional relationships with brands. Packaging serves not only as a communication vehicle for transmitting symbolism but is also important for its symbolic contribution to the total understanding of the brand (Underwood 2003).
Brand personality characteristics are derived directly from people associated with brand or persons own characteristics and more indirectly via product -related attributes, brand name, logo(s), communication style, prices and distribution, all resulting in brand personality (Christensen, 2003 cited Bauer et al, 2001; Fournier, 1998; Timmerman, 2001).Aker (1997) described and measured the personality in five core dimensions which are represented diagrammatically below;
Fig 2(Aker, 1997) In respect to brand personality, this research would focus on the impact of packaging design and product information on Kellogg’s and weetabix brand personality.
In respect to the importance of packaging in the world of marketing, it has been observed that much research has not been done in some areas as directed by some researchers. According to Pinya and Mark (2004) both visual (package design) and informational elements can influence consumer choice, he further said it is an important issue to carry researches on packaging ,as extensive research is not being carried out fully. He also mentioned further some research areas that can be investigated on. Areas like visual elements of packaging (graphics and size/shape) influence choice of product. Secondly, informational elements of a package influence choice of products.
Having observed most researches carried out on packaging in respect to package design and product information, it is clear that more or less has been done in respect to how it influences consumer purchasing intention in respect to breakfast cereal. As a result of that, this research would focus on breakfast cereal (Weetabix and Kellogg’s).
According to packaging news (2009) Kellogg’s are focusing on a six months trial of testing a new space saving box in Detroit, they are trying to see if customers will like to use this new packaging as it contains the same content in the larger box, a box that will fit more conveniently into their pantries. this shows that packaging changes most times, and as a result of that ,customers perspective changes as well .if This trial is achieved in Detroit this will also influence the purchasing intention of consumers, which this research is going to be carried on. Below is a diagrammatic representation of the boxes.
Fig 1(package news, 2009)
In respect to that, Weetabix are redesigning their packs to create uniformity amongst their brand (package news, 2009).This will also affect consumers purchasing intention positively or negatively when research is done in depth.
In order to identify whether package elements (visual and product information) affect purchase intention of adults and to determine the impact of package design on women’s and men’s purchase intention, the following model will be used as the conceptual framework:
Consumer Responds with:
Product Brand Per
Information Brand Personality
The scope of the research will include package elements, particularly, package size and package design. The design elements will include those that create a product’s appearance such as materials, proportions, color, ornamentation, shape and reflectivity. In line with past research, this study defines package design as a number of elements chosen and blended into a whole by a designer or design team to achieve a particular sensory effect. Designers make choices regarding package characteristics such as shape, scale, proportion, materials, colour, finish, ornamentation, and texture. They also decide how to mix those elements, and they determine the level of congruity among package characteristics.
The aim of the research paper is to gain an understanding into the Influence of Breakfast Cereal Packaging on Purchasing Intention of Consumers with Different Demographic Profile. Hereafter the research questions will be set
- How does package design and product information influence women’s and men’ purchasing decision within a certain age group (18-50) in respect to breakfast cereal (Kellogg’s crunchy nut and weetabix)?
- Does income level have any effect on consumer’s purchasing intention when shopping for breakfast cereal (Kellogg’s crunchy nut and weetabix)?
- What are the effects of package design and product information on Kellogg’s crunchy nut and weetabix brand image and brand personality?
This chapter will converse the research methods that the researcher intends to execute. This chapter will also discuss the process in assembling and coming up with appropriate result.
The research will be divided into two phases and will be conducted using a mixed methodology. This research has adopted post-positivism paradigm. The approach to this research is inductive by nature as this research does not seek such to test hypothesis, but to gather the data via specific measures such as quantitative and qualitative methodologies will be utilized whereby a general conclusion will be drawn from the pattern and regulation of the data.
3.1 Research Paradigm
3.1.2 Positivism Paradigm
Positivism is an epistemological position that recommends the application of the methods of natural sciences in relation to the study of social reality and beyond (Bryman and Bell, 2003).This is discovered and verified through direct observation or measurement of phenomena. According to Bryman and Bell, 2003, positivism also entails a list of principles such as; the reason of the theory is to generate hypotheses that can be tested therefore allowing explanations of laws to be verified.
In this research the positivism paradigm is used, whereby the topic was chosen and questions developed. Positivism is an approach to social research which seeks to apply the natural science model of research to investigations of the social world (Denscombe 2003).
3.1.3 Phenomenology Paradigm
Phenomenology is a way of life that is apprehensive with the question of how individuals make sense of the world around them, and how exactly the philosopher should bring out the preconceptions in his or her capture of that world (Bryman and Bell, 2003). This involves in-depth interviews, participant observations etc. According to Moustakes, (1999) this type of paradigm helps the researcher to incorporate his or her own intuitive judgment of what is essential in understanding the environment, and also have a first –hand observation which gives him or her the opportunity to gather data through direct experience and thus be able to understand and interpret the settings and participants being studied and evaluated.
Phenomenology is sometimes offered as an option to positivism. It refers to an umbrella phrase wrapping styles of research that do not rely on measurement, statistics, or other things commonly associated with the scientific methods. In straight contrast to positivism it is seen as an approach that emphasizes subjectivity, description, interpretation and agency. Phenomenological research normally deals with people’s perceptions, attitudes and viewpoint, approach and emotions (Denscombe 2003).it is an approach that focuses on how life is knowledgeable. It is not mostly alarmed with explaining the causes of things but tries, instead, to offer a report of how things are experienced direct by those involved (Denscombe 2003).
3.1.4 Post positivism
Post positivism is best characterized as a customized description of positivism. Ontologically, post positivism moves from what is now recognized as ‘naïve’ pragmatist bearing to one often termed as ‘critical realism’. The real meaning of this position is that though a real world determined by real natural causes exists, it is impracticable for humans truly to perceive it with their defective sensory and intellective mechanisms. Inquirers need to be critical about their work precisely because of those human frailties. Methodologically, post positivism provides a response to developing problems. This is critical multiplism, which can be thought as a form of elaborated triangulation. This means using as many sources of data, investigators, theories and methods as possible (Guba, 1985).
The reason of using these methods is to get more information to explore. Information would be developed first; from the focus group that will be able to express themselves more. From this information quantitative questions would be constructed to get the general view of the survey.
In the present study, the researcher will employ a post-positivist approach where in two methods (survey and focus group) will be used to gather data and information.
3.2 Research Approach
The research will use the inductive approach. The research will start with inductive approach in order to help build the conceptual framework of the questionnaire.
3.2.1 Inductive Approach
This involves a type of reasoning whereby an approach is taken from specific observation to broader generalisation and theories (Bryman and Bell, 2007) this involves observations or findings and then theory. In this research the observation would be the relationship between packaging and consumers and the theory would be how packaging influences consumer purchases.
In contrast to deductive research, inductive research begins with specific data, which are then used to develop a general explanation to account for the data. One way to think of this process is in terms of the research circle: Rather than starting at the top of the circle with a theory, the researcher starts at the bottom of the circle with data and then develops the theory.
3.2.2 Justification for the Research Approaches
The reason of using this approach is to get more information to analyse, so as to get the real facts from consumers with different demographic backgrounds, in other to achieve the aim of the research. Obviously it shows that a theory is not tested, so a deductive approach will not fit in. According to Bryman et al (2007) it would have been a good idea to use both if hypothesis was tested to get a broader view from both approaches.
3.4 Methods of Data Collection
Both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods will be employed in gathering data.
The study will make use of qualitative research design. The qualitative research design often involves a merging together of different data collection strategies. It is flexible, competent of adjusting to what is being learned during the route of data compilation. The qualitative research design tends to be holistic, striving for an understanding of the whole and it requires researchers to become powerfully concerned.
According to Newman and Benz (1998), a qualitative research comprises of interpretative, naturalistic approach of the topic. Qualitative research is about understanding things in their normal settings. A researcher conducting qualitative research attempts to make good judgment of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the understanding people bring to them. It involves different methods of assembling and collecting of observed materials such as case study individual experience, meditative, life story, interview, observational, historical, communications, and image texts.
Bryman and Bell (2007, p.650) indicates that, “qualitative methods may be used to provide important contextual information that supplements the findings from a larger quantitative study”.
The quantitative paradigm is based on positivism which takes scientific justification to be nomethetic (i.e. based on universal laws). Its main aims are to quantify the public world, to examine hypotheses and to forecast and manage human behavior (Newman and Benz 1998). Quantitative research is based on the statement that the world can be investigated using scientific approach and that there is a self-governing reality. Quantitative research is based on the principle that quantifiable influences (independent variables) affect measurable outcomes (dependent variables) in a cause-effect manner. Quantitative research is normally conducted in a restricted surroundings, such as laboratories, or using unidentified data, for example statistics collected through surveys, questionnaires, structured interviews or tests.
A researcher who uses this approach to investigate a topic aims to study more about it. Taking this approach to investigate implies asking questions about the phenomena that can be counted (Peat et al 2002). Researchers who take a quantitative approach frequently work within positivism, as this paradigm shapes the world as a collection of actually independent phenomena to be counted, measured and otherwise catalogued as the prologue to deducing the rules or laws underlying them and giving them consistency (MacNaughton et al 2001).
This research use both mixed methodologies in other to acquire more information.
3.5 Survey Sampling
Convenience sampling was used in identifying the respondents. Convenience sampling in looking for respondents will make the research easier and faster. The research will be using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The principal source of information and data will emerge from survey that will be conducted by the researcher by handing survey questionnaire to consumers in supermarkets (Tesco superstore at surrey Quays, ASDA at North Greenwich, and Morrison at central Thamesmead). The researcher will also conduct two focus groups.
3.5.1Target population and sample frame
The primary respondents to the study will be consumers from 18 to 50 years The sampling size of this study is 250 which is large enough for the meaningful analysis. Correspondents will be classified according to (male or female), age (18-21, 22-30, 31-40, 41-50) and income level. The reason for classifying respondents according to their demographics is to ascertain the impact of breakfast cereal packaging elements on different consumers with different demographic backgrounds.
3.5.2 Questionnaire Design
The questionnaire focused on four topics: (a) impact of package size on consumer purchase intention; (b) impact of package design on consumer purchase intention; (c) impact of informational elements of package on consumer purchase intention; and (d) demographics. Impact of package size respondents were asked to identify the possibility of them increasing or decreasing purchase of breakfast cereal if the package were to change using a five-point likert scale.
3.6 Pilot testing
Pilot testing was conducted for the questionnaire survey and a test was also conducted for the focus group so as to construct the questions posed before the audience. Full details are available in the appendix.
For the questionnaire pilot test, the researcher made use of Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient and Cronbach’s Alpha if item is deleted using the SPSS. Cronbach’s Alpha is a measure of internal consistency reliability. It measures the homogeneity of items within a scale. It is based on the supposition that relationships of items are logically connected to relationships of items to the latent variable. If items have a strong relationship to their latent variable, they will have a strong relationship to each other. By convention, alpha should be at least .70 or higher to retain an item in an “adequate” scale.
3.7 Focus Group design
A section of the research will be done using a qualitative sampling technique. The research would be conducted as a focus group, whereby both facilitator and participants will elaborate on the questions asked. The participants are allowed to “think out loud” (Saunders et al 2003), thereby not only exploring the “what” and “how” but also laying emphasis on the “why”. Data collected from this would be used to facilitate that of the quantitative research.
3.7.1Focus Group Sampling
Two exploratory focus groups of sample size, six respondents each were implemented in order to investigate the impact of cereal packaging on men’s and women’s purchase intention. The first group consisted of six males between age 18 and 50 while the second was consisted of six females between age 18 and 50 the reason of this age group is because they make use of breakfast cereal more and are able to afford it. The sample was chosen using a purposive method due to time and financial restrictions on the research. Participants were chosen from supermarkets and groceries and comprised of ages across the demographics required, reason being that they consume these products and most of them make their shopping there as they are also staffs of the grocery shop (Tesco)
A relaxed environment was chosen within the grocery shop (quite room) (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill 1997) as to make the whole group feel comfortable aiding them to feel convinced to further their opinions with a group layout. The focus group will last more or less one hour.
Each question was documented on a piece of paper for the correspondents to answer and they were later grouped together. Each coloured picture of Kellogg’s and weetabix was displayed with their different sizes for them to see and the following questions were asked.( see appendix).this took place on the 10th of Jan 2010.
4. Analyzing Data
4.1 Focus group analysis
In summarising the findings of the focus group three main points where gathered which were important to them and they are:
- Elements of packaging
- Size of income
- Demographics (influence of their children, age :4-12)
Elements of packaging
The female respondents pointed out that the informational elements of packaging is very useful to them, reason being that it helps them to decide on a product faster, but the male respondents focused mainly on the size of the product as that was their main concern, as they say the larger the cheaper which will save them money
Size of income
All respondents agreed on income as a determinant in purchasing of products. The size of your income determines your budget; if the product is expensive they go for a less expensive one (store brands) that is similar in quality and taste. This as a result they say would definitely affect their purchase decisions.
Demographics (influence of their children, (age :4-12)
With respect to the effects of demographics, fourteen of them have kids and they say most of the time their decision is affected mostly by them, they come first on their shopping list, especially when you are a working parent. Among the 16 participants (8 females and 8 males), 9 have children. According to these participants, their children are very influential when it comes to purchasing breakfast cereals.
This focus group analysis has provided an examining insight into the resulting survey findings and possible avenues for future research described consequently in the author’s recommendations.
Part I: Demographics
The respondent population is comprised of a wide age distribution with 30 (12%) aged from 18 to 21 years old; 76 (30.4%) aged 22-30 years old. There are 94 (37.6) respondents aged from 31 to 40 years old while 50 (20%) were aged from 41 to 50.
When it comes to gender, majority of the respondents are female comprising 162 (64.8%) of the total population while the total number of male respondents amounted to 88 (35.2%).
Less than 10,000 (UK pounds)
10,000-15,0000 (UK pounds)
16,000-20,000 (UK pounds)
21,000 and above (UK pounds)
When it comes to income level, the responses are widely distributed. There are 45 (18%) respondents who earn less than £10,000 while there are 89 (35.6) respondents who earn anywhere between £10,000 and £15,000. 36% of the respondents (90) earn between £16,000 and £20,000 while there were 26 (10.4&) respondents who earn £21,000 or more.
The respondents were also asked whether they have children or not. Out of 250 respondents, 164 (65.6%) have children while 86 (34.4%) have no children.
Number of Children
Number of Children
Out of the 164 respondents who stated that they have children, 59 (36%) have only 1 child; 66 (40.2%) have two children and 39 (23.8) percent stated that they have three children.
Do Respondents’ Children Eat Breakfast Cereals?
Out of the 164 respondents who stated that they have children, 154 (93.9%) stated that their children eat breakfast cereals while 10 respondents (6.1%) said that their children do not eat cereals.
Influence of Children on Purchase Decision
Out of 154 respondents with children that eat breakfast cereals 106 (68.8%) stated that their children have very high influence on their purchase decision with regards to breakfast cereals. There were also 42 (27.3%) who said that their children have high influence when it comes to purchasing breakfast cereals. A minor number of respondents – six (3.2%) stated that their children have low influence on breakfast cereal shopping while only 1 respondent stated that her children have very low influence in her decision in purchasing breakfast cereals.
Part II: Influence of Package Design and Product Information
1. Brand that Respondents Use
The respondents were asked which among the two brands (Kellog’s and Weetabix) they purchase on a regular basis. Majority of the respondents (178 or 71%) stated that they purchase Kellogg’s on a regular basis while only 72 respondents (28.8%) revealed that they purchase Weetabix on a regular basis.
Once a day
Once a week
Twice a week
The respondents were asked about the frequency of their breakfast cereal consumption. 188 respondents or 75.2 percent stated that they consume breakfast cereals everyday. There were 40 respondents (16%) who stated that they consume breakfast cereals twice a week while 22 respondents (8.8%) revealed that they consume breakfast cereals once a week.
3. Package Size of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut that Respondents Purchase
Among the 178 respondents who purchase Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut on a regular basis, 108 stated that they usually purchase the 750g variant while 70 stated that they often buy the 500g-sized breakfast cereal.
4. Package Size of Weetabix that Respondents Purchase
Among the 72 respondents who stated that they purchase Weetabix on a regular basis, 26 (36.1%) responded that they often purchase the 42 Bites variety while 20 (27.8%) stated that they always purchase the 12 Bites variety. There were 19 (26.4) respondents who always purchase the 24 Bites variety while 7 (9.7) stated that they often purchase the 72 Bites variety.
5. Likelihood of being affected by a change in Package Size
The respondents were asked whether a change in package size of the breakfast cereal brand that they are regularly buying will affect their purchase. The researcher got a mix response, with 104 respondents (41.6%) responding that a change in package size will “very likely” affect their purchase. There were 65 (26%) respondents who stated that a change in package size will “likely” affect their purchase of either Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut or Weetabix. 35 respondnets (14%) stated that a change in package size will “unlikely” affect their purchase while 27 (10.8%) respondents asserted that a change in package size will “very unlikely” affect their purchase.
6. Likelihood of being affected by a change in Package Design
The respondents were also asked whether a change in package design will affect their purchase of breakfast cereals. Majority of the respondents totaling to 117 (46.8%) stated the a change in package design will “very unlikely” affect their purchase. There were 53 respondents (21.2%) who asserted that a change in package design will “likely” affect their purchase of breakfast cereal while 22 respondents (8.8%) stated that their purchase will be “very likely” affected by a change in product design.
7. Effect of Package Design as a Factor in Breakfast Cereal Purchase
The respondents were asked about the effect of package design as a factor in breakfast cereal purchase. 64 respondents (15.6%) and 119 respondents (47.6%) stated that package design, as a factor has a “very high” and “high” effect on breakfast cereal purchase. There were however, 42 respondents (16.8%) who stated that package design has “low” effect as a factor in breakfast cereal purchase while there were 17 (6.8%) who asserted that package design has “very low” low effect.
8. Influence of Package Design on Purchase Decision
When asking about the influence of package design on purchase decision, the researcher gathered mix responses. 92 respondents (36.8%) stated that package design has a “very high” influence followed by the respondents that stated that it has “high” influence on their purchase decision. There were 35 respondents who reported that package design has “low” influence on them while 21 respondents asserted that it has “very low” influence on them.
Part III: Influence of Product Information
1. Importance of Placing Product Information on Packaging
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