Erin Hodgsen


Consumer and Food Sciences


MConsci Food Management


Consumer prioritisation of product-related attributes within the breakfast cereal category

This study aimed at gaining empirical data regarding consumers’ prioritisation of product, retailer and consumer attributes when selecting RTE breakfast cereals. It is envisaged that the findings will assist industry role-players such as manufacturers, suppliers and retailers to revise and amend their current category management practices. In doing so retailers will not only provide better consumer experiences but also benefit their bottom line. The study conformed to a quantitative approach using convenience, non-probability sampling, recruiting 395 respondents. Data collection in the form of an electronic self-administered questionnaire were facilitated using the Qualtrics platform. To draw meaningful conclusions, aligned with the research aim and objectives, the data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. 

Product attributes were analysed in terms of intrinsic and extrinsic dimensions, retailer attributes are explored in terms of selected marketing mix elements and consumer attributes were investigated in terms of selected sociodemographic characteristics. The results of the study revealed that when selecting RTE breakfast cereals, consumers are prioritising extrinsic product attributes over intrinsic product attributes. Regarding retailer attributes, results highlighted promotional activity as the most important element to consider when convincing consumers to buy RTE breakfast cereals. Other retailer attributes that were identified as possible areas of interest included consumers’ significant preference to shop for RTE breakfast cereals at grocery stores and the fact that they prioritise stores that provide a wide product assortment.

In terms of consumer attributes (sociodemographic characteristics), findings indicated that  when considering intrinsic product attributes, consumers’ gender is a significant influential factor. Results presented that females, in particular, were more likely to emphasise intrinsic attributes such as nutritional profile, health and safety compared to males. When considering extrinsic product attributes, results revealed that only household income can be considered as a significant influential factor. Results confirmed that the higher a consumers’ household income becomes, the less emphasis is placed on price when purchasing RTE breakfast cereals. In conclusion, it is believed that the findings of this study are beneficial to South African industry role-players. This information can be used to segment consumers and provides a basis for future cluster analysis. This could subsequently enhance assortment planning as part of a customer-centric category management strategy, leading to a sustainable competitive advantage that increases both the role-players return on investment (ROI) as well the consumer’s satisfaction and loyalty.



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  • Dr Nadene Marx-Pienaar
  • Co-Supervisor: Dr Bertha Jacobs


Published by Gertruida Erasmus

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