Consumer Buying Behavior – Muffin Consumption Research Paper

Introduction

Studies such as those by Heffetz (2012) explain that in the case of the 45-65 age demographic, buying decisions on food are oriented more towards long term healthy food choices and, as such, they are willing to spend considerable amounts on food that they know is healthy (Heffetz, 801-818).

Evidence of this can be seen in the creation of several companies that produce products specifically targeted at this demographic, such as high fiber cereals, vitamin enriched bread, various types of multi-vitamins and a variety of other products (Heffetz, 801-818).

Not only that, the study “Disparities in the Frequency Of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption by Socio-Demographic and Lifestyle Characteristics in Canada” (2011) which examined consumer trends in healthy eating revealed that as consumers age they tend to take into consideration the type of food they eat given their susceptibility to illnesses due to their advanced age (Disparities in The Frequency of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption, 118-125).

As a result, they are willing to spend more to get better high quality food that is rich in vitamins, fiber and other nutritious elements.

From these studies, it is evident that consumer buying behavior for the 45-65 demographic is oriented more towards healthy food choices wherein they first consider the health benefits of what they consume as opposed to its affordability or popularity.

While muffins are not as popular as compared to burgers, shakes, and fries, they are a healthier choice which appeals to the 45-65 age demographic.

Understanding 45 – 65 Demographic Consumer Buying Behavior

When examining the 45-65 demographic, it can be seen in the study by Wheatley et al., (1980) that consumers within this age bracket have more disposable income as compared to either the 18-29 or 30 – 44 demographics (Wheatley et al., 31).

Wheatley et al., (1980) explains that this age group is closer to retirement and has already reached a point in their lives where they have paid off large additional expenses such as mortgages and car loans which are normally accumulated early in life which results in a greater amount of disposable income.

Combined with the fact that individuals within this age group normally have had long and fulfilling careers resulting in advanced positions within their respective companies (i.e. managers, shift leaders, foreman, principles etc.) results in higher levels of income as compared to their counterparts in the 18-29 demographic who are still staring their careers, the 30 – 44 who are in the middle of their careers and the 66 and above demographic who rely primarily on their retirement income.

As such, it can be assumed that the 45 – 65 demographic has high amounts of disposable income which has a direct influence on their buying behavior.

It is normally the case that under the concept of budget constraints, each consumer is assumed to have a fixed and finite income due to the limited amount of work in exchange for income each individual consumer is capable of achieving.

When taking into consideration a high income threshold and the aforementioned desire for high quality health food, as seen in the study of Heffetz (2012), this means that the 45-65 demographic is not concerned with the price of the food that they are buying but rather its potential health benefits.

Thus, when it comes to purchasing a muffin from the Muffin Shoppe it is likely that these consumers would choose from a selection of muffins that they would perceive as giving them the highest health benefits regardless of the cost (i.e. whole wheat muffins, bran muffins, banana muffins etc.).

Nandamuri et al. (2012) adds to the argument by showing that this particular consumer demographic is more likely to spend more on quality food as compared to consumer electronics due to their age factoring into their adaptability to new types of popular culture technology (i.e. iPhones, iPads, etc.) which enables them to spend more money on high quality consumable goods (Nandamuri et al., 48-63).

Rational Buying Behavior

The concept of rational behavior assumes that all consumers are rational individuals who try to use their earned incomes in order to derive the greatest amount of satisfaction/ utility.

In other words, consumers try to get the most out of their income through rational buying behavior which results in a maximization of total utility from the products or services used.

In the case of the 45-65 demographic, rational behavior comes in the form of choosing healthy food options, despite the cost, due to their deteriorating health as a result of old age.

Rational behavior is based on the fact that consumers should act in an economically competent manner to not spend too much money on irrational purchases or services.

For the age demographic under examination, this means purchasing food items that contribute to their well being (ex: healthy muffins, fruits, vegetables etc.) as oppose to those that result in bodily harm (i.e. burgers, fries, donuts, etc.).

Consumers from this age demographic are inherently aware of how much in the way of marginal utility they are able to derive from successive use/consumption of a healthy product and, as such, orient their buying behavior towards this type of consumption.

Works Cited

“Disparities In The Frequency Of Fruit And Vegetable Consumption By Socio-Demographic And Lifestyle Characteristics In Canada.” Nutrition Journal 10.1 (2011): 118-125.

Heffetz, Ori. “Who Sees What? Demographics And The Visibility Of Consumer Expenditures.” Journal Of Economic Psychology 33.4 (2012): 801-818.

Nandamuri, Purna Prabhakar, and Ch. Gowthami. “Influence Of Consumer Demographics On Attitude Towards Branded Products: An Exploratory Study On Consumer Durables In Rural Markets.” IUP Journal Of Marketing Management 11.3 (2012): 48-63.

Wheatley, John J., John S. Y. Chiu, and Andrea C. Stevens. “Demographics To Predict Consumption.” Journal Of Advertising Research 20.6 (1980): 31

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