عنوان مقاله [English]
Rice is a very important food product in providing national food security for the Iranian families. There are different types of rice in Iran that are selected and consumed by consumers. Consumers are looking for more desirable features for consumption. The average annual consumption of Iranian rice in Iran is about 1.33 million tons, while it is 1.30 million tons for foreign rice. One of the most important key factors in the success of producers is to pay attention to the preferences and tastes of consumers. Any change in the product and service should be made taking into account the definition of quality from the perspective of the consumer and in accordance with their preferences and tastes. Existence of foreign rice, especially Indian and Pakistani rice in the domestic market due to the close quality with similar samples of Iranian production, low price, abundant advertising and proper packaging, have changed the preferences of Iranian consumers for rice, so, high consumption of imported rice have raised concerns about creating a kind of loyalty to foreign products. The quality and variety of Iranian products can be improved by knowing the tastes and desires of consumers led to increase per capita consumption of Iranian products relative to its similar foreign types and raise farmers’ incomes. Therefore, the present study aimed to identify and prioritize the factors affecting consumer preferences in the selection of Iranian and foreign rice in Mashhad city.
Material and Methods
Data of 384 rice consumers in Mashhad city were collected using a questionnaire design and surveys sampling. In the qualitative section, after identifying related factors, the views of experts were examined through semi-structured interviews and the seven main factors include product appearance, quality, health, price, packaging, distribution and promotion were identified in the form of 20 variables (sub-factor). In the inferential analysis section, seven main factors were ranked using structural equations and Friedman test.
Results and Discussion
The results showed that quality, health, product appearance, packaging, distribution, price and promotion had the greatest impact on the consumers choice for Iranian and foreign rice, respectively. All rice consumers chose rice to consume, which first of all has a pleasant aroma both before and after cooking, and also does not have small pieces of rice at the time of purchase and has a suitable taste after cooking. Also, rice health is the second component that consumers pay attention to, they choose rice that is sure it is organic as well as being free of toxins and fertilizers. The grain appearance of the product include grain length, post-cooking appearance and its color at the time of purchase is located in third rank. The next rank is related to product packaging including packaging type (bulk or package), package appearance and listed information on the package. Distribution of rice products is located in fifth rank, which is divided into store location and access to the store. The final rankings were related to price and advertising such as the type of media, public relations and encouragement to buy the product. Post-cooking taste, purity, post-cooking aroma, aroma and smell at the time of purchase, post-cooking texture of rice, and choice of rice type by the citizens of Mashhad city have a negative and significant relationship, respectively. In other words, those who consume Iranian rice pay more attention to these variables in their selection than those who consume foreign rice. In choosing rice, the type of packaging and its size are not the first priorities of buyers, but it plays a significant role in the marketing. Based on our results, if Iranian and foreign rice are at the same price, consumers tend to consume Iranian rice because of the pleasant aroma and taste. TV commercials cannot affect consumer choice, because rice is a product that must be seen by the consumer when buying and the decision to buy is made after checking the rice appearance.
Focusing on producing a healthy product, producing cultivars with better post-cooking appearance, eliminating government currency and removing foreign rice price bias, as well as focusing on quality instead of high cost on advertising can improve the level of rice production can enhancing consumer satisfaction as well as improving the situation of rice production and rural income and employment.