Combined results from 2 survey studies were used to obtain information useful for the industries and retailers involved in the milk production and selling chain in North Italy. The first survey identified different clusters of fluid milk purchasers by examining their preferences and attitudes toward 12 intrinsic–extrinsic and credence milk attributes, by applying best–worst scaling methodology, whereas the second survey characterized the fatty acid (FA) profiles of commercial milk sold by large-scale retailers to verify the correspondence between the actual FA profile and the direct and indirect claims on the labels. To summarize information about the FA profile of milk, which may be considered an advanced attribute of milk quality, the milk FA index (MFAI) was calculated for each milk sample. A total of 130 milk samples (around 85% of the labels in northern Italy) and a total of 502 participants who answered a face-to-face questionnaire were considered in the 2 surveys. The milk samples were 13.1% organic, 9.2% certified as being of mountain origin, and over 50% noncertified but linked to cow grazing or to a mountain environment on their labels. The FA profiles showed a wide range of variation, with saturated FA ranging from 63.4 to 71.8, and polyunsaturated FA from 2.76 to 5.85. The FA profile and MFAI index of certified milk (organic or mountain-derived) were significantly different from the profiles of noncertified milk, whereas no correspondence was observed between the retail price and milk quality. When ranked on the basis of MFAI, which proved to be a good discriminating tool, the certified milks presented a bimodal distribution, indicating that certification does not always guarantee a real difference. The consumers chose milk considering the origin of the product, brand, expiration date, and process certification as the most important attributes, whereas they rated price and organic certification as the least important attributes. The study showed that about 20% of the consumers had a high propensity to buy milk on the basis of its quality. However, this attribute is often incorrectly indicated or not indicated at all on the milk label, with misleading images or claims that do not correspond to the actual FA quality of the milk. Having a clear index that offers information about the FA profile could thus be an interesting tool to improve the awareness of buyers and to valorize and differentiate milk products.

Analyses of consumers’ preferences and of the correspondence between direct and indirect label claims and the FA profile of milk in large retail chains in northern Italy

Tabacco E.;Merlino V. M.;Coppa M.;Massaglia S.;Borreani G.
2021

Abstract

Combined results from 2 survey studies were used to obtain information useful for the industries and retailers involved in the milk production and selling chain in North Italy. The first survey identified different clusters of fluid milk purchasers by examining their preferences and attitudes toward 12 intrinsic–extrinsic and credence milk attributes, by applying best–worst scaling methodology, whereas the second survey characterized the fatty acid (FA) profiles of commercial milk sold by large-scale retailers to verify the correspondence between the actual FA profile and the direct and indirect claims on the labels. To summarize information about the FA profile of milk, which may be considered an advanced attribute of milk quality, the milk FA index (MFAI) was calculated for each milk sample. A total of 130 milk samples (around 85% of the labels in northern Italy) and a total of 502 participants who answered a face-to-face questionnaire were considered in the 2 surveys. The milk samples were 13.1% organic, 9.2% certified as being of mountain origin, and over 50% noncertified but linked to cow grazing or to a mountain environment on their labels. The FA profiles showed a wide range of variation, with saturated FA ranging from 63.4 to 71.8, and polyunsaturated FA from 2.76 to 5.85. The FA profile and MFAI index of certified milk (organic or mountain-derived) were significantly different from the profiles of noncertified milk, whereas no correspondence was observed between the retail price and milk quality. When ranked on the basis of MFAI, which proved to be a good discriminating tool, the certified milks presented a bimodal distribution, indicating that certification does not always guarantee a real difference. The consumers chose milk considering the origin of the product, brand, expiration date, and process certification as the most important attributes, whereas they rated price and organic certification as the least important attributes. The study showed that about 20% of the consumers had a high propensity to buy milk on the basis of its quality. However, this attribute is often incorrectly indicated or not indicated at all on the milk label, with misleading images or claims that do not correspond to the actual FA quality of the milk. Having a clear index that offers information about the FA profile could thus be an interesting tool to improve the awareness of buyers and to valorize and differentiate milk products.
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retail milk, milk fatty acid profile, label claim, consumer preferences
Tabacco E., Merlino V.M., Coppa M., Massaglia S., Borreani G.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1827881
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