Mexican consumers at the point of meat purchase. Beef choice
Ngapo, T.M., Braña Varela, D., Rubio Lozano, M.S. (2017). Mexican consumers at the point of meat purchase. Beef choice. Meat Science, [online] 134 34-43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2017.07.013
Plain language summary
Meat is the largest food category in Mexico, accounting for approximately 25% of total grocery spending and, in 2015, beef consumption in Mexico was 9.9 kg per capita. Mexico is one of the top eleven beef exporters in the world, but domestic production does not meet demand. Given this significant beef market met through international trade, it is in the interest of not only the local, but also the global beef industry to be aware of Mexican market preferences. However, reports of Mexican consumers’ preferences for beef at the point of purchase are lacking. This study aimed to identify the most important characteristics of fresh beef that determine consumer choice in cities in four regions of Mexico. Books of 256 images of beef comparing two levels of each of four characteristics were developed as surveying tools. In addition, to better define preferred levels and acceptable limits that the consumer will tolerate in fresh beef, a series of images was produced for each of the four characteristics. The most important meat traits used at purchase were fat cover and marbling, with lean options preferred. Meat colour was also important, but divided between light and dark red. Fat colour was the least important of the four attributes studied, but was nevertheless important given that almost half of consumers used three or four characteristics to make their choice. Imported and domestic beef in the Mexican marketplace appear to respond to the range of Mexican consumer preferences for beef at the point of purchase.
Within-consumer preference replication achieved through systematic image manipulation was used in consumer surveys in four cities across Mexico (Mexico City, n = 195; Guadalajara, n = 100; Hermosillo, n = 132; Veracruz, n = 61) to study beef preferences. Images of beef steaks controlled for lean and fat colour, fat cover and marbling were presented to consumers to determine the characteristics used in beef choice and the levels of preference of these characteristics. The most important choice criteria were fat cover (62% preferring little fat cover) and marbling (59% preferring non-marbled). Lean colour was also important with 24% and 29% choosing light and dark red beef, respectively. Fat colour was the least important of the four attributes studied (18% and 19% choosing white and yellow, respectively), but was nevertheless important given that 43% of consumers used three or four characteristics to make their choice. Imported and domestic beef in the Mexican marketplace appear to respond to the range of consumers' beef preferences at the point of purchase.