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Understanding perceptions and beliefs about different types of fermented milks through the application of projective techniques: A case study using Haire's shopping list and free word association

Pinto, Letícia de Paula F., Silva, Hugo L. A., Kuriya, Shigeno P., Maçaira, Paula M., Cyrino Oliveira, Fernando L., Cruz, Adriano G., Esmerino, Erick A., Freitas, Mônica Q.
Journal of sensory studies 2018 v.33 no.3 pp. e12326
case studies, consciousness, consumer behavior, fermented milk, food industry, lactose free diet, marketing strategies, markets, new products, sensory properties, willingness to pay
The food industry has been exploring the fermented milk due to its technological and functional potential, creating different formulations and fulfilling the recent market demands. In this context, evaluate the consumers' behavior and perception through qualitative approaches helps to identify the factors that may impact the consumption and purchase of those dairy products, guaranteeing a commercial advantage in a highly competitive market. This study aimed to evaluate the perception and to elucidate the buyers' profile of different types of fermented milk through two projective techniques—Word Association (WA) and Haire's Shopping List (SL), respectively. In addition, their willingness to buy was also investigated. The tasks were completed through online quizzes by groups of respondents within a sample of 550 participants, shared between WA (100) and SL (450). The results showed that the participants considering the consumers of all varieties of fermented milk were consciousness regarding their food, which evidence the products' positive reputation for health. Moreover, these dairy products could also be considered as foods with striking sensory characteristics and remarkable marketing strategies. Additionally, the formulations light and lactose free presented lower purchase intent when compared to the other types, possibly for being associated to low sensory quality conditions and consumers' health restrictions, respectively. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: The projective techniques showed themselves as useful to comprehend the perceptions and beliefs about food products and can be applied in steps, such as development of new products, reformulation, and in marketing strategies.