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Changing consumer intake of potato, a focus group study

Fredrik Fernqvist (Department of Work Science, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden)
Sara Spendrup (Department of Work Science, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden)
Lena Ekelund (Department of Work Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 5 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

While potato consumption in Europe and North America declines, other carbohydrate sources increase. The purpose of this paper is to explore factors affecting consumers’ changing consumption behaviour as regards fresh potato.

Design/methodology/approach

Six semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted. Thematic analysis was made by means of a theory-driven approach.

Findings

Seven categories of factors affecting consumer choice of fresh potato were found and discussed: first, convenience and preparation-related factors; second, health; third, information and packaging; fourth, sensory appeal; fifth, monetary considerations; sixth, familiarity and habit; and seventh, sustainability and ethics. Convenience appears to be the strongest explanation to changing food behaviour.

Research limitations/implications

The research contributes to present knowledge regarding food choice and consumers’ carbohydrate intake. Findings of previous research is both validated and questioned. Methodological limitations are discussed, suggesting complementary quantitative approaches to the findings based on qualitative research.

Practical implications

The findings add to knowledge of consumer behaviour and food choice. The findings may suggest focus areas in strategic marketing research, facilitating strategic decisions in response to falling consumption of fresh potatoes due to changing consumer attitudes and behaviour.

Originality/value

By using a theory-driven approach in a thematic analysis, a broad set of interview data from six focus group interviews has been summarised and categorised. The methodology shows an effective way to treat a large amount of qualitative data and condense it to straightforward themes.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Thanks are due to the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, and to the Swedish Farmers’ Foundation for Agricultural Research, for financing the project.

Citation

Fernqvist, F., Spendrup, S. and Ekelund, L. (2015), "Changing consumer intake of potato, a focus group study", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 No. 1, pp. 210-221. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-05-2013-0112

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited