Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

The Influence of Country-of-Origin Labeling for Lentils on Consumer Preference: A Study with Reference to Sri Lanka

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

The Influence of Country-of-Origin Labeling for Lentils on Consumer Preference: A Study with Reference to Sri Lanka

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Introduction

Consumers differ in their consumption behavior with respect to taste and preference. Most of the empirical studies (Green and Sirinivasan, 1990; Hair et al., 2006; and Ares and Deliza, 2010), so far, analyzed the relationship between the quantity consumed of a specific product and different characteristics of the household. It failed to adequately address the consumer preference, such as the number of different products a household consumes in a specific time period. Understanding variety in food consumption is important for nutrition and for protection against chronic diseases (Randall et al., 1985; Krebs-Smith et al., 1987; Vecchia et al., 1997; and Hatloy et al., 1998). In a developing economy, lentils play an important role in the human diet and is often referred to as the 'poor man's meat' because it contains high amount of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are also low in sodium, fat and cholesterol. Lentils support general wellbeing and reduce the risk of illnesses and hence are good in controlling diabetes, preventing coronary and cardiovascular disease and lowering blood cholesterol levels due to their high-fiber content (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2012).

Legumes naturally fix atmospheric nitrogen, which provides a nutrient for their growth, and maintains soil fertility for subsequent crop rotations. This nitrogen fixation ability of legumes helps to cut down on the application of artificial nitrogen fertilizer and promotes environmental sustainability (Muehlbauer and Tullu, 1997; Graham and Vance, 2003; and Gowda et at, 2007). As a consequence of pulse production shortfalls in recent years, the poor has been affected by increasing food prices (Akibode and Maredia, 2011; Chandrashekhar, 2011; and Prensa Libre.com, 2012). High prices limit the ability of the poor to purchase sufficient quantities (as indicated by income elasticity data). High prices can also force the poor to change their diets towards less nutritious foods- a caution issued by a recent international conference on 'Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health' (IFPRI, 2010).

Joshi (1998), Rao et at (2010), and Akibode and Maredia (2011) indicate four reasons for slower yield growth in grain legumes: ( 1 ) Low input use; (2) Shifts in marginal growing areas; (3) Less policy support than other commodities; and (4) Limited RSdD and dissemination of improved technology Only 25% of the grain legume crop area in the developing world is high input use area/irrigated as compared to 60% of the cereal area. Similarly, only 6% of fertilizers in Sub-Saharan Africa are used on grain legumes as compared to 26% for maize and 11% for wheat/barley (Bumb et at, 2011).

In the family of legumes, lentils production was significantly influenced by South Asian countries, Europe, North America, South America and Africa (Akibode and Maredia, 2011). Furthermore, the importance of lentils for farming was highlighted by McGreevy (2007), by comparing the production statistics of dry peas, chickpeas, lentils, malting barley, spring wheat and canola. The results showed that spring wheat has the highest net returns over operating costs, followed by chickpeas and lentils. The net returns of these three crops per acre was $72.52, $71.99 and $71.78 respectively. Unlike other crop varieties as mentioned above, the total operating cost of lentils was minimal and hence they tended to contribute more to profit margin.

According to National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), USDA, the US lentil production has increased in response to market demand as the acreage under lentil cultivation expanded from 450,000 to 463,000 between 2005 and 2012. During the same time period, the US lentil production increased from 51 million pounds to 59 million pounds. According to the UN Comtrade, US is the largest lentil exporter in the world and exports 80% of their total lentils production. …

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