Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Regional Influences upon the Selection of Imported versus Domestic Seafood

Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Regional Influences upon the Selection of Imported versus Domestic Seafood

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Consumers exhibit various characteristics that influence their selections. When comparing domestic available foods, consumers assert bias and discretion for several reasons. Verlegh (2007) wrote that consumers often have a positive bias toward products from their own country. Verlegh identified this bias as being driven by at least two distinct motives: consumer ethnocentrism (p. 361), which is economic in nature and reflects the consumer's desire to protect the domestic economy; and, national identification, which is psycho-social in nature (p. 362). Zukin and Maguire (2004) identify consumer's choices regarding consumption as a social, cultural, and economic process of choosing goods, and this process reflects the opportunities and constraints of modernity (p. 173).Fernie, Hahn, Gerhard, Pioch, and Arnold (2006) observed that consumers are inconstant in their decision-making and choices, thus perplexing marketers by buying certain imported products over their domestic competitors while completely rejecting other imported goods. Fernie, Hahn, Gerhard, Pioch, and Arnold found that the push to "Buy Domestic" appears to have greater consumer appeal for some products than for others. They found that research suggests that consumer preferences for domestic versus imported products are a function of consumer demographic characteristics, level of consumer ethnocentrism, country of origin, and domestic country bias (citing: Balabanis and Diamantopoulos, 2004; Good and Huddleston, 1995; Huddleston, Good, and Stoel, 2000; Lantz and Loeb, 1996; Netemeyer, Durvasula, and Lichtenstein, 1991; Nijssen, Douglas, and Bressers, 1999; Orth and Firbasova, 2003; Shimp and Sharma, 1987; Supphellen and Rittenburg, 2001; Watson and Wright, 2000) (p. 688).

This study compares consumer choices of several factors influencing their purchase domestic versus imported seafood. Surveys were performed in the coastal area of Mississippi and in Wisconsin, locations that are more than one thousand miles distant. Since early man made his home along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, the sea has been a major source of food and recreation, with abundant fresh fish, shrimp and oysters having a major role in the local culinary tradition. It is difficult to escape the influence of fresh seafood upon the local people as they either are engaged in recreational or commercial fishing themselves, or they know someone who is, or they pass the many tailgate seafood vendors as they drive local roads. In contrast, all saltwater seafood in Wisconsin has to be shipped-in. The likelihood of someone's dinner in Wisconsin having some form of saltwater seafood harvested that very day is very rare, as the logistical challenges provide an effective barrier to entree this being anything but a rare and costly specialty. Frozen seafood, both domestic and imported is available in both markets. Subsequently, consumers in both markets will have similar choices in frozen seafoods but dissimilar options regarding their choices (fresh-caught vs. frozen) and experiential (personal contact with saltwater fishing industry and persons in the industry).

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (2007), "Americans consumed a total of 4.9 billion pounds of seafood in 2006. The nation imports roughly 83 percent of its seafood and remains the third largest global consumer of fish and shellfish, behind Japan and China" (para. 2). Firms at the various levels of the seafood industry benefit from understanding of consumers' attitudes towards foreign products, that can help with the design of more effective product, price, promotion, and distribution strategies (Lawrence, Marr and Prendergast, 1992, p. 37). Americans dinner tables owe their largess not only to American agribusiness, to the food service workers at grocery stories, restaurants and hotels, to immigrant workers, U. …

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