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Customer loyalty towards traditional products – Polish market experience

Edyta Dorota Rudawska (Marketing Department, University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse key determinants of Polish consumers’ loyalty, identified through the analysis of relationship marketing literature, with reference to traditional foodstuffs.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper's approach is a systematic review of the Web of Science, Ebsco and Pro-Quest electronic databases, from 1990 to 2014 as well as research results run by Polish and international research centres, groups and institutes. The paper focuses on two main aspects. One is connected with the development of traditional foodstuffs being a consequence of growing prosperity of the Polish society, and the emergence of consumers who rate quality, national/regional identity and own cultural values higher than the price. The other one is connected with key determinants of consumer loyalty towards traditional products. The paper uses secondary data, and presents research results run between Polish consumers of traditional food products. Attitudes and behaviour of Polish consumers of traditional products in relation to key determinants of loyalty, such as attitude towards the product, the level of satisfaction, trust, price sensitivity and frequency of purchase and willingness to do repeat purchase are identified in the paper.

Findings

According to the analysed research, almost 90 percent of the respondents positively perceive traditional products. The results of the research confirm positive and emotional attitudes of consumers towards traditional products. This emotional attachment, which is very important in creating loyalty among consumers, makes them buy traditional food. Polish consumers are satisfied with the taste of traditional products, which are also perceived as fresh and natural. Consumers rate the quality of traditional products highly and underline their positive influence on their and their families’ health. According to the research, Polish consumers pay little attention to geographical and quality indications, which are designed to build a trustworthy image of the products. Traditional products are perceived as expensive, which makes it difficult to build loyalty and affects the frequency of purchase. Almost 40 percent of the respondents buy traditional products once a month.

Practical implications

The research results presented in the paper have significant implications for management, that is producers and retailers of local food, in particular with regard to their future marketing effort. Producers and entrepreneurs should monitor behaviour of consumers of traditional food to adapt their offer to changing trends in order to create their loyalty. Consumers expect the products to be made of appropriate ingredients and production methods in order to keep their original taste and character. They also expect some product innovations and proper communication to become loyal.

Social implications

The paper has significant implications for society. The process of building customer loyalty towards traditional products is important in the context of their quality of life and public attitude. Traditional foods are a part of culture and the identity of the population where they are produced. Therefore they carry a strong symbolic value for the customers. They are also perceived as healthy and nutritious products, containing a lot of vitamins and minerals. Creating loyal attitude towards them may improve the quality of customers’ life.

Originality/value

The paper provides interesting insights about loyalty for traditional products. Based on the determinants of loyalty identified by the author in relationship marketing literature the analysis of these variables was conducted in relation to traditional products. Due to the best author knowledge this is one of the first attempts, if not the first, where loyalty determinants were described in relation to traditional products. The literature lacks comprehensive research on particular aspects of loyal behaviour in the market of traditional products.

Keywords

Citation

Dorota Rudawska, E. (2014), "Customer loyalty towards traditional products – Polish market experience", British Food Journal, Vol. 116 No. 11, pp. 1710-1725. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-10-2013-0299

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited