<departmental bulletin paper>
The Position of Consumer Cooperatives as a Rice Retail Format in Japan : An Analysis of the Fukuoka Prefectural Consumer Cooperative Members’ Rice–purchasing Needs and Behaviors

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Abstract To expand rice consumption in Japan, consumer cooperatives (hereinafter referred to as “co–ops”) are an expected retail format. The aim of a co–op is to contribute to the creation of a consumer–oriented social system centered on ensuring food safety, which has become increasingly concerning among Japanese consumers. The purpose of this study was to develop recommendations for the formulation of more effective marketing strategies and to encourage the use of co–ops when purchasing rice among existing members. First, co–op members’ diversified rice–purchasing needs are identified in order to investigate the relative position of co–ops among the numerous current retail formats for rice over a 10–year period. Data on rice purchases based on the psychographic criteria of co–op members were collected twice through mail questionnaire surveys: once in 2006 and once in 2015. The following six rice purchasing needs were identified using exploratory factor analysis: “Official information”, “Trustworthiness”, “Promotional information”, “Low price”, “Rinse–free”, and “Rice milling date”. Hierarchical cluster analysis based on these six needs identified the following five types of members: “Promotional information seekers”, “Trustworthiness seekers”, “Low price seekers”, “Members with low involvement in rice purchases”, and “Non–price elements seekers”. Accordingly, the results suggested that as a rice retail format, co–ops satisfy all six rice–purchasing needs except for “Low price”. Among the members, “Promotional information seekers” and “Non–price elements seekers” show the strongest loyalty to co–ops when purchasing rice. “Trustworthiness seekers” were recognized as a new segment that hopes to be much more loyal to co–ops in the future. In addition, significant changes in the manifestations of members’ rice needs occurred over a 10–year period; these needs should be analyzed to identify suggestions for the formulation of future rice retail strategies for co–ops.

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Created Date 2017.04.17
Modified Date 2017.04.18