Refusing to purchase suboptimal food plays an important role in food waste. However, it is still unclear what factors in the shopping situation will affect consumers' decision to purchase suboptimal food. The purpose of this paper is to identify the situational factors that affect consumers' suboptimal food purchase and provide a basis for designing effective intervention strategies for follow-up suboptimal food sales.
Based on in-depth interviews with 25 Chinese consumers, this study uses the grounded theory to find out the situational factors that influence consumers' purchase of suboptimal food.
These situational factors are divided into nine categories and 21 subcategories. Compared with general situational factors that affect consumers' food purchase decisions, some unique factors and remarkable roles are found. It is found that the channel of information release, store hygiene, salesmen and point-of-sale presentation are more important in influencing consumers' decisions to buy suboptimal food. Based on the findings, marketing suggestions for food retailers are put forward.
This paper fills in the research gaps on understanding the impacts of situational factors on suboptimal food purchase and particularly reveals the effects of face concept on the purchase. The research findings can provide a theoretical basis for subsequent large-quantitative research, and in view of the similarities between Chinese culture and East Asian culture, these findings are valuable not only for the Chinese food retailers but also for the international retailers wishing to enter the Chinese or East Asian markets.
The study is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, China (Grant Number: 71573103).
Cao, S., Gong, S. and Bai, L. (2023), "Situational variables that affect consumers' suboptimal food purchasing behavior in China", British Food Journal, Vol. 125 No. 1, pp. 145-166. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-09-2021-1074
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