Ethical and social responsibility issues in grocery shopping: a preliminary typology

Juliet Memery (University of Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, UK)
Phil Megicks (University of Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, UK)
Jasmine Williams (University of Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, UK)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Publication date: 1 December 2005

Abstract

Purpose

Despite growing awareness of ethical and social responsibility (E&SR) issues in academia and industry, investigation of their influence on consumers' buying decisions has been limited. To help fill this gap, this paper reports the findings of a preliminary investigation to establish the key E&SR factors affecting grocery shopping behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

The study drew upon existing literature in the areas of ethics, social responsibility, shopping and store image to identify the individual elements of E&SR. An exploratory qualitative study of E&SR consumers (E&SRC) was then conducted, using seven focus groups, and a typology of key factors of concern to these consumers was derived from analysis.

Findings

The findings identify seven core categories, containing seventy‐one sub‐categories. These interlink to form three main clusters: food quality and safety, human rights and ethical trading, and environmental (green) issues. Shoppers trade off these E&SR factors against standard retail purchasing factors, in particular convenience, price and merchandise range when deciding which shops to use and what products to buy.

Research limitations/implications

The typology derived from this exploratory research may be used alongside conventional store image factors in future research, to help predict those factors that influence purchasing behaviour. Similarly, it may assist brand and retail managers in profiling, and meeting the needs of, E&SRC.

Originality/value

The research distinguishes differences in how shopper types vary in their behaviour, and proposes a set of implications for managers of the research and areas for further investigation.

Keywords

Citation

Memery, J., Megicks, P. and Williams, J. (2005), "Ethical and social responsibility issues in grocery shopping: a preliminary typology", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 399-412. https://doi.org/10.1108/13522750510619760

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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