Characterization of cheese consumers in Santiago Province, Chile
A high demand for Chilean cheese has resulted in increased cheese production. This increase represents an opportunity to promote the development of new markets, such as for small ruminant cheeses. However, little has been discussed regarding the extent to which cheese consumers consider small ruminant cheeses. We hypothesized that price is the main determining factor for purchasing cheese. The present study examined this previously unexplored aspect. The objective of this study was to identify the factors that contribute to the purchaser's response behavior, including purchase, usage and product possession. This study also aimed to provide preliminary information on cheese consumption in the Province of Santiago, Chile. A personal interview was conducted in a sample of 323 individuals in major supermarkets from five municipalities (Santiago, La Florida, Las Condes, Pudahuel, and Recoleta) of Santiago city between March and May 2012. The largest proportion of surveyed individuals were female (62%) who were between 20 to 25 years (34%). The main cheese purchaser of the household was more often the woman (52%; P<0.01). The brand and origin (70%; P≤0.01) and price (30%; P≤0.01) of the cheese were the main aspects considered before making a purchase. Cow's milk cheese was the predominant cheese type consumed (77%), followed by goat's milk cheese (6%), cow's and goat's milk cheese (15%) and cow's, goat's and sheep's milk cheese (2%). Of the individuals surveyed, 35% consumed cheese three times per week as a sandwich ingredient. We conclude that consumer fidelity is driven by brand and origin and a preference to use the cheese in sandwiches (81%). Data from this study may be used to determine the most adequate strategy for promoting the sales of small ruminant cheeses.