APPLICATION OF ETHNOGRAPHY AND CONJOINT ANALYSIS TO DETERMINE KEY CONSUMER ATTRIBUTES FOR LATTE-STYLE COFFEE BEVERAGES

Authors

  • S.M. JERVIS,

    1. Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695
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  • K. LOPETCHARAT,

    1. Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695
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  • M.A. DRAKE

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695
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TEL: (919) 513-4598; FAX: (919) 515-7124; EMAIL: mdrake@ncsu.edu

Abstract

ABSTRACT

The objective of this study was to examine and compare ethnography and conjoint analysis to identify the factors that influence choice of latte-style coffee beverages. Ethnographical data were collected at four of the top producers of latte-style beverages. Attributes measured by the conjoint survey included location of purchase, milk type, fat content, sweetener type and additional flavor. Consumer responses (n = 721) from the conjoint survey showed that the most important attributes in determining latte beverage purchase intent were location and milk type, followed by fat content, sweetener and additional flavor. Segmentation of respondents based upon patterns in utility scores showed three distinct groups. Segment 1 (n = 185) called the “indulgents” was influenced by milk type and sweetener type. Segment 2 (n = 200), “location consumers,” was influenced by a coffee house. Segment 3 (n = 336), “health conscious,” was calorie and health conscious. Ethnographical observations identified and described the consumer segments based upon patterns of behaviors and were in alignment with consumer responses to survey questions. Ethnography coupled with choice-based conjoint provided a robust technique for understanding consumer choices of latte-style coffee beverages.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

Choice-based conjoint analysis is a quantitative survey technique designed to collect large amounts of information from consumers in a realistic scenario format. Ethnography is a qualitative research tool that provides insight to consumer consumption and purchase behaviors that may not be readily acquired by quantitative approaches. These behaviors can be just as important as the product attributes themselves in determining liking and purchase. Coffee companies will be able to utilize the results to better target the attributes that are driving consumer choice.

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