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A Study on Brand Preference of Baby food with special reference to Gobichettipalayam town in Erode District

 

Prof. K. Rajendran

Assistant Professor, Department of Management

Gobi Arts & Science College, Gobichettipalayam, Erode Dist.

Tamilnadu, India

 

Dr.V.Parthiban

Associate professor, Department of Management

Gobi Arts & Science College, Gobichettipalayam, Erode Dist.

Tamilnadu, India

 

Abstract

 

             The paper highlights the socio- economic characteristics of baby food customers, awareness of consumers and the factors influencing them to purchase baby food products. The paper is based on a study which reveals that majority of the consumers (80%) is having medium and high level of awareness with regard to baby food. The study revealed that convenience is the main factor influencing the purchase of baby food products.

 

Keywords

 

               Consumer, Brand preference, Awareness, Baby food, Consumer Attitude.

 

Introduction

 

      Branding and packing play a very important role than a mere name. Consumer’s knowledge about the product is increased by advertisements. An advertisement helps the consumers to save their time in purchasing. Advertisements have become the part of life for every one as a listener through some media or the other. In the present context of information explosion and media influence, these advertisements play a major role in changing the consumer behaviour of the society.

 

Preference of brand depends upon the consumers’ brand perception about the product. Only through the brand name the individuality of a product is established. Consumers are at ease while shopping as identification is possible through brands. Packaging helps to differentiate similar products. Packaging and labeling are inseparable and are closely related to branding.

 

Importance of Baby food

 

Good health is the most important thing in the life of every children. To be healthy, energetic food containing calcium, protein and vitamins should be taken. In the changing scenario, the “baby’s health” is the top priority for the parents. Every father and mother wants to make their baby very strong and healthy. For this, parents always try to give their baby, nutritious food. As India is also going in for the nuclear family structure, the grandmother’s care has reduced considerably. Also due to lack of time, they cannot always give their baby home prepared food. Parents are in search of readymade food for the baby without much annoyance. Hence, they purchase different types of baby food, which are available in the market to fulfill these requirements of baby food. Leading companies have introduced 12 to 15 varieties of baby food under one brand. These foods help to have a good health not  only in the tender age, but also helps to grow physically and mentally healthy.

 

Statement of the Problem

 

There are various baby food manufacturers producing different baby foods in our country and they are playing an important role in fulfilling the needs of consumer. Many new companies have also emerged as manufacturers of new brands of baby food product.

 

At present the consumers are more dynamic. Their tastes, needs and preferences are changing as per the current scenario. The consumer now looks for product differentiation and the convenience offered. The consumer has certain expectation from branded baby beverage food in terms of its quality, price, taste, flavour and packing. The increasing money spent on advertisement makes the consumer aware of the latest brands in the market.

 

Review of Literature

 

              In the study conducted by Dr. K. Ramasamy, Dr. G. Kalaivanan and S. Sukumar (June 2005) on “Consumer behaviour towards instant food products in Madurai”, it is observed that the commercial advertisement over TV is most important source of information which influenced the awareness and attitude towards the product. It is found that easy preparation and good taste are important motivational factor that induce people to buy the instant food products. It is found that quality is an important factor that plays an important role in the decision making process. A large number of sample customers opined that package of most of the instant food items are attractive and ensure safety of the contents.

 

A study conducted by A.V.Ramana and P.Viswanath (March 2005) on “Consumer Behaviour and awareness with special reference to edible oil users in Anantapur town” concluded that awareness among the consumers about the consumer rights, existence of consumer forums and the procedure to file the case with the forum is very low even among educated people and businessmen.

 

A study conducted by R.Jayaraman (August 1984) titled “Demarketing Baby Foods”emphasised that the market should analyze the needs and wants through integrated marketing efforts to satisfiy the consumers. This aspect of marketing warns the consumers in general of the harmful nature of the product.

 

A study conducted by Dr.S.Shanmugasundaram and Reginald James (April 1990)on “Demographic and psychological factors that influence the pattern and selection in soft drinks and tetra-pack drinks” found that among the factors that influenced persons to buy and prefer tetra pack drinks, convenience in carrying it found to be prominent.

 

Objectives

 

     This paper is based on the study conducted by the author with the following objectives:

 

1. To evaluate the factors which influence the customers to buy a baby food.

  1. To measure the awareness of the customers of baby food products.
  2. To analyse the problem faced by buyers of baby food.
  3. To offer suggestions to improve the market of baby food product.

 

Hypotheses

 

The study examines the following null hypothesis.

 

1. There is no significant relationship between the gender and brand awareness of baby food.

2. There is no significant relationship between the educational qualification and brand    awareness of baby food.

3. There is no significant relationship between the occupational status and brand awareness of baby food.

4. There is no significant relationship between the income of the respondents and brand awareness of baby food.

5. There is no significant relationship between the type of family and brand awareness of baby food.

 

Methodology

 

The study is based on primary data. The primary data were collected by interviewing the respondents with the help of pre-tested schedule. First, a pilot study was conducted on a sample of 50 respondents. While finalizing the schedule some questions were added and some modifications were made followed by redrafting of the schedule in its final form.

 

Sample Design

 

 The sample size is 250 and non-probability convenience sampling method was used.

 

Frame Work Analysis

 

The statistical techniques such as percentage and chi-square test were applied.

 

Area of the Study

 

The area of the study is limited to Gobichettipalayam town in Erode district, Tamilnadu.

 

Period of the Study

 

The study was conducted during the period between December 2010 and April 2011.

 

Profile of the respondents:

 

      Out of 250 respondents, 20 percent of the respondents are belonging to the young age group, 48 percent of the respondents are belonging to the middle age group and 32 percent respondents are belonging to the old age group.44 percent belong to male category and 56 percent of the respondents belong to female category. 7.2 percent of the respondents are illiterate, 34.8 Percent of the respondents have education up to school level, 50 percent of the respondents have education up to college level, 8 percent of the respondents are professional degree holders.

 

Out of 250 respondents, 20 percent of the respondents are employees, 32 percent of the respondents are businessmen / professionals, 30 percent of the respondents are agriculturists and 18 percent of the respondents are housewives. 20 percent of the respondents belong to low level income group, 56 percent of the respondents belong to medium level income group and 24 percent of the respondents belong to high-level income group. 40 percent of the respondents belong to nucleus family and 60 percent of the respondents belong to joint family.                                        

 

Out of 250 respondents, 24 percent of the respondents are having one child in their families, 44 percent of the respondents are having two children in their families and 32 percent of the respondents are having above two children in their families. 34 percent of the respondent’s children are belonging to the age group of up to 1 year, 40 percent are belonging to the age group of 2 to 3 years and 26 percent are belonging to the age group of above 3 years.

 

Awareness of Brand

 

        Brand awareness amongst customers may differ from each other on account of their age

groups, gender, education, occupational status, type of family and income of the family. Based on the background information of the respondents an attempt has been made to examine the brand awareness of consumers about baby food in Gobichettipalayam Town.

 

Distribution of respondents according to their Brand Awareness about Baby Food

 

To measure the brand awareness, fifteen brands were considered. They are Cerelac, Farex, Nestogen, Lactogen, Amulspary, Pediasure, Protinex, Dexolac, Nestum, Amul, Lactodex, Raptakos, Truphox, Angel, Vijayspray.

 

The maximum score that was assigned by a respondent for all the fifteen brands would be 15 and minimum score of 1. The respondent who scored awareness of classified into low ( 1 to 5) medium (6 to 10) and  high (11 to 15).

 

The sample respondents were distributed on the basis of total score from the fifteen brands.

           

                    Classification on the basis of brand awareness

 

Awareness

Frequency

Percentage (%)

Low 1 to 5

50

20

Medium 6 to 10

130

52

High 11 to 15

70

28

Total

250

100

 

The above table indicates that 28 percent of the respondents are having high awareness, 52 percent of the respondents are having low awareness and 20 percent of the respondents are having low awareness.

 

Relationship between socio-economic characteristics and brand awareness

 

Relationship between gender and awareness

 

Null hypothesis:

 

            There is no significant relationship between gender and brand awarness.

            To test the above hypothesis the chi-square test was applied.

The below table reveals the relationship between gender and brand awareness about the baby food.

                                         

                       

 

Awareness

 

Gender

Low

Medium

High

Total

Male

20

(19%)

60

(54%)

30

(27%)

110

(100%)

Female

30

(21%)

70

(50%)

40

(29%)

140

(100%)

Total

50

(20%)

130

(52%)

70

(28%)

250

(100%)

 

(Figures in parentheses are percentage)

DF = 2,c2 value = 0.791,Table value = 5.991

 

The above table indicates that 54% of the male respondents have medium awareness, 27% of them have high awareness and 19% of them have low awareness.50% of the female respondents have medium awareness, 29% of them have high awareness and 21% of them have low awareness.

 

To test the hypothesis that there is no significant relationship between the gender and brand awareness of baby food     Chi-square test is applied. The calculated chi-square value (0.791) is less than table value (5.991). So we accept null hypothesis. That is, there is no significant relationship between the gender and brand awareness of baby food.

 

This may be due to the fact that male and female have equal access to the media such as TV, Newspapers, etc. and have equal opportunity to know about the various brands and related information. Hence, it is concluded that brand awareness is not associated with the gender of the respondents.

 

Relationship between Education and Awareness

 

Null hypothesis:

 

            There is no significant relationship between education and brand awareness.To test above the hypothesis the chi-square test was applied

                                         

 

Awareness

 

Education

Low

 

Medium

 

High

 

Total

Illiterate

7

(39%)

6

(33%)

5

(28%)

18

(100%)

School level

12

(14%)

55

(63%)

20

(23%)

87

(100%)

College level

25

(20%)

64

(51%)

36

(29%)

125

(100%)

Professional Degree

6

(30%)

5

(25%)

9

(45%)

20

(100%)

Total

50

(20%)

130

(52%)

70

(28%)

250

(100%)

 

(Figures in parentheses are percentage)

DF = 6,c2 value = 14.891,Table value = 12.592

 

The above table indicates that 39% of the Illiterate respondents have low awareness,33% of them  have medium awareness and 28% of them  have high awareness.63% of the school level   respondents have medium awareness, 23% of them have high awareness and 14% of them have low awareness. 51% of the college level respondents have medium awareness, 29% of them have high awareness and 20% of them have low awareness. 45% of the professional degree holders have high awareness, 30% of them have low awareness and 25% of them have medium awareness.

 

To test the hypothesis that is there is significant relationship between the educational qualification and brand awareness of baby food Chi-square test has been applied. The chi-square test value is 14.891 which is more than table value 12.592. So we reject the null hypothesis. Hence, the alternative hypothesis, that there is significant relationship between education and brand awareness about the baby food was accepted.

 

This may be due to the reason that the educated persons have fair access to the various media and have opportunity to know about the various brands and related information. Hence, it is concluded that brand awareness is associated with the educational qualification of the respondents.

 

Relationship between Occupation and Awareness

 

Null hypothesis:

 

            There is no significant relationship between occupation and brand awareness.

                                                        

           

Awareness

 

Occupation

Low

Medium

High

 

Total

Employees

15

(30%)

20

(40%)

15

(30%)

50

(100%)

Businessmen/  Professionals

15

(19%)

40

(50%)

25

(31%)

80

(100%)

Agriculturists

10

(13%)

55

(74%)

10

(13%)

75

(100%)

Housewives

10

(23%)

15

(33%)

20

(44%)

45

(100%)

Total

50

(20%)

130

(52%)

70

(28%)

250

(100%)

(Figures in parentheses are percentage) DF = 6,c2 value = 20.13,Table value = 12.592

 

The above table indicates that 40% of the respondents belong to employees category have medium awareness and 30% of them have low& high awareness. 50% of the respondents belong to businessmen/ professionals’ categsory have medium awareness, 31% of them have high awareness and 19% of them have low awareness. 74% of the respondents belong to agriculturists have medium awareness and 13% of them have low & high awareness. 44% of the respondents belong to housewives have high awareness, 33% of them have medium awareness and 23% of them have low awareness.                                 

 

To test the hypothesis that is there is no significant relationship between the occupation and brand awareness Chi-square test is applied. The chi-square value is 20.13 which is more than table value 12.592. So we reject null hypothesis and accept the alternative hypothesis, i.e, there is a significant relationship between the occupation and brand awareness.

 

This may be due to the fact that businessmen and professionals have more exposure to the happenings around them due to their day-to-day engagements and activities and they have more opportunity and chances to know about various brands than the people who are employees, agricultures and housewives. Hence, it is concluded that brand awareness is associated with the occupation of the sample respondents.

 

Relationship between Income and Awareness

 

Null hypothesis:

 

            There is no significant relationship between income and brand awareness.

            To test above the hypothesis the chi-square test was applied. The below table reveals the relationship between income and brand awareness about the baby food.

        

 

Awareness

 

Income

Low

 

Medium

 

High

 

Total

Low level

15

(30%)

25

(50%)

10

(20%)

50

(100%)

Medium level

15

(10%)

85

(61%)

40

(29%)

140

(100%)

High level

20

(34%)

20

(33%)

20

(33%)

60

(100%)

Total

50

(20%)

130

(52%)

70

(28%)

250

(100%)

 

(Figures in parentheses are percentage)

DF = 6,c2 value = 21.738,Table value = 12.592

 

The above table indicates that 50% of the respondents belong to low level income category have medium awareness, 30% of them have low awareness and 20% of them have high awareness. 61% of the respondents belong to medium level income category have medium awareness, 29% of them have high awareness and 10% of them have low awareness. 34% of the respondents belong to high level income category have low awareness and 33% of them have medium & high awareness.

 

To test the hypothesis that is there is no significant relationship between the income and awareness Chi-square test was applied.

 

The chi-square value is 21.738 which is more than the table value (12.592). So the null hypothesis is rejected and the alternative hypothesis is accepted, i.e., there is significant relationship between the income and brand awareness of baby food. Hence, it is concluded that brand awareness is associated with the income of the respondents.

 

Relationship between Type of Family and Awareness

Null hypothesis:

 

            There is no significant relationship between type of family and brand awareness.

            To test above the hypothesis the chi-square test was applied.

The below table reveals that the relationship between type of family and brand awareness about the baby food.                                              

 

 

Awareness

 

Type of Family

Low

 

Medium

 

High

 

Total

Nucleus

25

(25%)

50

(50%)

25

(25%)

100

(100%)

Joint

25

(17%)

80

(53%)

45

(30%)

150

(100%)

Total

50

(20%)

130

(52%)

70

(28%)

250

(100%)

 

(Figures in parentheses are percentage)

DF = 2,c2 value = 2.745, Table value = 5.991

 

The above table indicates that 50% of the respondents belong to nucleus family have medium awareness and 25% of them have low & high awareness. 53% of the respondents belong to joint family have medium awareness, 30% of them have high awareness and 17% of them have low awareness.

 

To test the hypothesis that is, there is no significant relationship between the type of family and brand awareness, Chi-square test was applied.

     

The calculated value of chi-square is 2.745 which is less than table value 5.991. So we accept

null hypothesis, that is, there is no significant relationship between type of family and brand awareness of baby food. Hence, it is concluded that brand awareness is not associated with the type of family of the respondents.

 

Classification on the basis of Brand Preference  

                                                             

Brands

Frequency

Percentage (%)

Amul

40

16

Amulspray

10

4

Angel

5

2

Cerelac

40

16

Farex

50

20

Lactogen

30

12

Nestogen

15

6

Nestum

15

6

Pediasure

20

8

Protinex

20

8

Total

250

100

       The above table shows that 16 percent of the respondents prefer Amul, 4 percent of the

respondents prefer Amulspray, 2 percent of the respondents prefer Angel, 16 percent of the respondents prefer Cerelac, 20 percent of them prefer Farex, 12 percent of them prefer Lactogen, 6 percent of them  prefer Negtogen&  Nestum, 8 percent of them prefer Pediasur &Protinex. Hence, it is concluded that considerable number of the sample respondents are using Farex, Cerelac and Amul.

 

Classification on the basis of Reason for Purchase

 

Reasons

Frequency

Percentage (%)

Strength & Health

50

20

Extra Nutrition

75

30

Baby’s Health

85

34

Made according to the health needs

40

16

Total

250

100

       

The above table shows that 20 percent of the respondents purchase the baby food for the

reason of strength and health, 30 percent of the respondents purchase for extra nutrition, 34 percent of the respondents purchase for baby’s health and 16 percent of the respondents purchase for the baby’s health needs. Hence, it is concluded that considerable number  of respondents purchase the baby food to make the baby healthy.

 

Factors influencing the consumers to purchase a particular brand of Baby Food

 

In the consumer market all baby food manufacturers are trying to boost up their brand image. But consumer’s brand choice is  based upon various factors like price, quality, quantity, brand image, healthcare, taste and smell, convenience and easy availability etc.

 

Ranking Analysis

 

To identify the relative importance of the factors influencing the brand preference of baby food, it is decided to use Garrett’s ranking technique. Eight factors related to brand preference of baby food are identified and analyzed. All the 250 sample respondents are called to assign rank to all these factors in the order of magnitude. Each respondent is instructed to indicate the importance of the factor by giving rank I to the most important factor which influences the brand preference rank II to the second important one and so on.Garrett’s ranking technique is used to rank the factors with the following formula.

           

                                      100 (Rij – 0.5)

Percent Position =

                                                Nj

Where Rij = Rank given for the ith factor by the jth respondents.

             Nj = Number of factor ranked by jth respondents.

 

By referring the Garrett’s table the percent position estimated is converted into scores. For each factor the scores of each individual are added and then mean value is calculated. The factors having highest mean value is considered to be the most important. The score of the ranks as follows:

 

Rank

I

II

III

IV

V

VI

VII

VIII

Score

79

67

59

53

46

40

32

20

         

Table showing the ranking analysis of the factors influencing the brand preference of baby

food.

 

Score value of factors influencing the baby food consumers: Garrett Ranking Method.

            

Factors

Sum

Mean

Rank

Price

475

4.75

IV

Quality

262

2.62

VII

Quantity

424

4.24

VI

Brand image

587

5.87

II

Health care

200

2.00

VIII

Taste & Smell

430

4.30

V

Convenience

650

6.50

I

Easy availability

578

5.78

III

 

On the basis of the table, it can be concluded that convenience is an important factor that influences the brand preference of baby food with highest mean score of 6.50, the second important factor is Brand image (mean score 5.87), the third important factor is easy availability (mean score 5.78), the fourth factor is price (mean score 4.75), the fifth factor is taste & smell (mean score 4.30), the six factor is quantity (mean score 4.24), the seventh factor is quality (mean score 2.62) and  the last factor is health care (mean score 2.00).By using Garrett’s ranking technique it is concluded that convenience is an important factor that influences the customer to purchase the particular brand of baby food.

 

Suggestions

 

From the findings of the study, the following suggestions are made which will help the manufacturers of baby food products to make their business lucrative and favourable to the consumers.

 

1.         It is found that majority of the consumers prefered Farex and Cerelac compared to other brands like Lactogen, Nestum, Nestogen etc. Hence it is suggested that the manufacturers of Farex, Lactogen, Nestum, Nestogen, Amulspray, etc., should concentrate in developing the features of their brand such as quality, flavour, taste, colour and vitamin content.

2.         It is found that majority of the respondents are suffering from the problem of higher price. Hence it is suggested that the manufacturers may try to reduce the price of the baby food products by reducing cost of production by controlling some of the expenditures like packaging, distribution and other possible manufacturing expenses.

3.         It is found that majority of the respondents are facing the problem of quality. Hence it is suggested that the manufacturers may try to increase the quality of baby food and add some extra natural healthy proteins.

4.         It is found that majority of the respondents are village people and are not aware about healthcare. Hence it is suggested to conduct awareness programs in the rural areas and try to increase the advertisement through the different media like TV, Radio, and Newspaper etc.

5.         It is found that majority of the respondents  feel that they are not affordable to buy high quantity packages. Hence it is suggested that the producers may try to supply the products with smaller quantity packages which will be suited to the average family also.

 

Conclusion

 

It is quite evident that awareness level with regard to baby food is to be improved. The buyers, give much preference to health of the babies and extra nutrition. Also convevenience and brand image are the top two factors, which influence the buying decision.

 

References

 

1.      Jayaraman R., (August 1984) “Demarketing Baby Foods”, Indian Journal Marketing, Vol.XIV, No.12, P-23.

2.      .Ramana A.V and Viswanath P., (March 2005) “consumer Behaviour and Awareness with special Reference to Edible Oil Users”, Indian Journal Marketing, Vol.XXXV, No.3, P-35.

3.      Ramasamy K., Kalaivanan G. and Sukumar S., (June 2005) “Consumer Behaviour towards instant food products”, Indian Journal Marketing, Vol.XXXV, No.6, P-26.

4.      Shanmugasundaram S. and Reginald James, (April 1990) “Demographic and Psychological factors  that influence the pattern and selection in softdrinks and tetra-pack drinks”, Indian Journal Marketing, Vol.XX, No.7, P-22.