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Longitudinal attitude surveys in consumer research: a case study from the agrifood sector

Publication Date
  • N510 Market Research
  • D400 Agriculture
  • D640 Food And Beverages For The Consumer
  • Agricultural Science
  • Economics
  • Political Science


Purpose – The aim of this article is to consolidate the theory relating to longitudinal attitude surveys, and supplement it with knowledge gained from the execution of an annual attitude survey of consumers. Design/methodology/approach – First, the article presents a distillation of current knowledge concerning longitudinal research; attitudes and behaviour; measurement of attitudes; and conduct of attitude surveys. Following that, a case study is carried out to survey consumer attitudes. This survey, which is intended to predict future behaviour and monitor changes in consumers’ attitudes in response to socio-political and economic changes in the food and agricultural market environment, is then discussed. Findings – The findings of a series of annual surveys of consumers’ attitudes first conducted in 1997 and continued annually to 2004 include: British farmers are viewed as “good food producers”; farms are businesses, which whilst forming the financial backbone of the rural community are at present members of a struggling industry; and there is agreement that the Government does not care for the countryside. Research limitations/implications – The survey on which the findings and the best practices are based upon relates to the consumers’ attitudes in response to changes in the food and agricultural market environment. Further research would be required to verify the findings in respect of other market sections. Practical implications – The article presents a checklist of eight good practices relating to the conduct of longitudinal attitude survey work. Originality/value – Attitude surveys are a popular means of gathering market research data. Much has been written about attitudes and the conduct of ad hoc attitude surveys. However, much less has been published concerning longitudinal attitude surveys. The study reports empirical findings in an important context, that is: changes in consumers’ attitudes in response to changes in the food and agricultural market environment.

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