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Quality Attributes Of Cactus Pear Fruit And Their Role In Consumer Choice

Giuseppina Migliore, Antonino Galati, Pietro Romeo, Maria Crescimanno, Giorgio Schifani

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to detect what experience and credence quality attributes contribute to the consumer decision to consume cactus pear fruit. The authors therefore try to measure the effect of each quality attribute on consumer choice. Design/methodology/approach – As a theoretical basis, two principal quality attributes emphasised in the literature on consumer behaviour were analysed and adjusted to the specific fruit features. The empirical strategy was carried out by administering a telephone questionnaire survey of 270 interviewees who consume cactus pears in Italy. The questionnaire, consisting of 14 items expressed on a metric scale (five-point Likert scale), was used to rate the importance of cactus pear fruit quality attributes. An ordered logit model was employed for data analysis. Findings – The results show that consumption of cactus pear fruit is mainly based on credence and experience attributes, which have different effects on the consumer decision to consume cactus pear fruit. Among experience quality attributes, the colour red, a low quantity of seeds, and being peeled are the attributes with major effects, following by credence attributes such as environmental sustainability, healthiness, and Italian origin. Research limitations/implications – The research was based on a particular fruit, and further comparative research is clearly needed. In fact, further advancement in cactus pear research would require that the validity of the empirical findings and their degree of generalisation be examined in other geographical areas. Practical implications – The results of this study could help to identify some factors on which business could intervene to create a more effective consumer-based approach. Originality/value – This study contributes to a better definition of cactus pear fruit quality for consumers with the aim of developing marketing strategies to increase farm business. To the best of the knowledge, no study has ever measured the effects of cactus pear fruit quality attributes on consumer choice.