The purpose of this paper is to identify segments of Mexican consumers with regard to their motives for food choices.
A questionnaire based on the Food Choice Questionnaire was applied to 1,202 consumers. A factor analysis and a cluster analysis were performed on the data.
Ten factors were identified: care for weight and health, social sensitivity, practicality, economic aspects, non-industrialized, hedonism, traditionality A, familiarity, traditionality B, and no added sugar. Resulting clusters were named as: traditional, healthy, conscious, and careless. Statistically significant differences (p<0.05) were found due to gender, age, marital status, and educational level, but not for body mass index. There are signs of different consumers, but it seems that Mexican consumers in general express low sensitivity to issues of health and nutrition, even more so towards animal welfare and products that are friendly to the environment.
The large diversity of motivations and behaviours in food consumption in Mexico are not all addressed in this study. However, this work opens a new area of research in Mexico so that in the near future studies on the diversity of Mexican consumers are undertaken, looking at the transformation of their food preferences.
In Europe, governments have addressed the new forms of consumption taking advantage of opportunities that benefit local producers, through the generation of added value as “Protected Designations of Origin (DOP)”, geographical indications, collective brands, ecological produce, local products of the land, among others. These proposals are promoted as a path to follow in Latin America, assuming that Latin American consumers have the same characteristics or interests as in those developed countries. But, not knowing consumers motives of preference represents a problem in the processes of valorization of food products.
Economic development, demographic, and sociocultural changes in Latin America have promoted phenomena both in the polarization of livelihoods in their societies as well as changes of lifestyles in different social strata. Therefore, studies are needed on the effect of these changes not only in food consumption, but also on the symbolic elements when consumers choose their food.
In Mexico, the study of food consumption has followed diverse approaches, as a matter of policy, from an economic perspective, from anthropology, particularly focussed on indigenous cultures, from the nutrition and health field or emphasizing economic aspects. As in other developing countries, those works do not address the role of the consumer and their motivations, so that research that studies their motives in the choice of foods is needed.
This work was undertaken thanks to the funding by the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología – CONACYT) through Grant No. 220531CB-2013.
Espinoza-Ortega, A., Martínez-García, C., Thomé-Ortiz, H. and Vizcarra-Bordi, I. (2016), "Motives for food choice of consumers in Central México", British Food Journal, Vol. 118 No. 11, pp. 2744-2760. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-04-2016-0143Download as .RIS
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