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Fairly sold? Adding value with fair trade coffee in cafes

Andrew Murphy (School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand)
Ben Jenner‐Leuthart (School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 1 November 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The presence of fair trade coffee in cafés may help in strategic positioning and market differentiation. This paper aims to explore the extent to which this is evident for café customers.

Design/methodology/approach

Customers were surveyed on their perceptions of café and coffee attributes including taste, price and store atmosphere. Respondents were analysed by knowledge of the concept of fair trade, and by frequency and place of purchase.

Findings

The study finds that nearly half of respondents claimed moderate self‐assessed knowledge, although objective knowledge was lower. More knowledgeable customers cared more for fair trade products and for café atmosphere, of which fair trade promotional material plays a part. Customers stated they expected to pay more for fair trade coffee, although on average not as much as current margins require. When exposed to more information about fair trade, stated price premium support increased, but coffee taste expectations worsened.

Practical implications

Promoting fair trade coffee can help distinguish and position cafés, but not as much as was expected. Customer beliefs about the provision of fair trade products appear to have a stronger influence on their choices than actuality.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to understanding customer motives for purchasing fair trade coffee, particularly in the context of cafés/coffee houses, and for their patronage.

Keywords

Citation

Murphy, A. and Jenner‐Leuthart, B. (2011), "Fairly sold? Adding value with fair trade coffee in cafes", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 28 No. 7, pp. 508-515. https://doi.org/10.1108/07363761111181491

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited