The study aims to identify different consumer groups to better understand changes in urban Fijian food shopping behaviour and the implications for the local food industry.
The authors used a Latent class (LC) cluster analysis of survey data from 1,000 urban Fijian households to identify unique consumer segments based on household food shopping behaviour.
Five distinct urban household clusters were identified based on food shopping behaviour. The cluster with the highest income level spent significantly lower amounts on fresh fruit and vegetables (FFV) at the main traditional market, preferring to buy their FFV from modern supermarket outlets. Considering the vast majority of local smallholder farmers rely on traditional market channels to sell their produce, the growth and dominance of Fijian supermarkets are of some concern.
Future research should consider repeating these types of detailed consumer surveys to better understand the implications of changes in shopping behaviour over time, and the role that key stakeholders can play in ensuring smallholder farmers is not excluded from the market.
Smallholder-driven agriculture accounts for a significant share of Fiji's gross domestic product (GDP), so understanding how the retail food industry is transforming and how this is affecting smallholder farmers is critical to Fiji's social structure.
Research on food retailing and the role of the consumer is rare in small island developing states (SIDS), such as Fiji. Fiji has a somewhat unique set of circumstances. In the absence of significant foreign investment in food retailing, key factors such as urbanisation and rising urban income mean consumer preferences are important drivers of changes in shopping behaviour. The study provides insights into Fiji's changing food industry with implications for other SIDS, while contributing to the global literature in this field.
The authors thank and acknowledge the project funding received from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and would like to thank the Fiji Bureau of Statistics (FBOS) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) for their support and guidance in the implementation of the household consumer survey.
Johns, C., Umberger, W.J., Lyon, P. and Maligalig, R. (2021), "Fijian food shopping behaviour: implications for policy makers and smallholder farmers", Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JADEE-12-2020-0301
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