held at the 88th ASHS Annual Meeting The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 22 July 1991
Filippo Sgroi, Enrica Donia, Mário Franco, and Angelo Marcello Mineo
The agri-food sector has changed significantly over the years, moving from a simple production system to a more and more industrialized one. For agents/operators involved in this sector, ensuring product quality and environmental externalities has become the key point to gaining a competitive advantage. In this context, corporate social responsibility (CSR) fits perfectly. This study analyzes the influence of CSR practices on the economic performance of a random sample of 130 agri-food companies in Italy. The results of an analysis of multiple linear regression models show that the economic performance (measured through value added and income) of agri-food enterprises seems to be influenced statistically by workplace CSR practices. Analysis of another model, during which we studied the relationship between income and the CSR practices (independent variables), highlights that operating results (economic performance) can be improved by CSR practices regarding the workplace, environment, and local community. Thus, empirical evidence shows that some CSR practices have positive effects on economic performance, with several implications for theory and practice.
Alan Stevens and Houchang Khatamian
Correctly anticipating consumer preferences for goods and services can have a large impact on profitability. Surveying patrons at individual retail outlets does insure the sampling is taken from a customer base, but such surveys are time and labor intensive. A survey sample, taken from attendees at Flower, Lawn and Garden Shows, offers the possibility of large sample sizes, of potential purchasers of horticultural goods and services, with reduced time and labor requirements. A survey to measure the influence of plant size, packaging and price on consumer purchasing habits was conducted at garden shows and garden centers. On the criteria of price and quality of nursery plant materials responses from the two samples were similar. Plant size and packaging appeared to be more influential criteria to the garden show sample.
Kris-Ann E. Kaiser and Patrick N. Williams
Ferry-Morse Seed Company is trying to market worm castings to their customers. Murray State University was asked to compare different percentages of worm castings for use with both bedding plants/vegetables and houseplants. Recommended application rates for worm castings was not to exceed 30%. Two plants were chosen to represent the plant categories deemed important to the consumer: tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum `Rutgers') and spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum). Treatment percentages for worm castings were 0% for a control and 10%, 20%, and 30% were incorporated into a soilless media substrate. Treatment 1 consisted of worm castings/soilless media alone and Treatment 2 consisted of worm castings/soilless media with the addition of Peters Professional All-Purpose 20–20–20 fertilizer at 100 ppm nitrogen. Tomatoes were grown from seed and the spider plant propagules were harvested from greenhouse stock plants and sized into small, medium, and large depending on weight. Tomatoes were harvested at 6 weeks and spider plants at 10 weeks. All tomatoes in Treatment 1 had poor visual consumer quality. Visual quality for Treatment 2 tomatoes was best in 20% and 30%. No significant differences were found in Treatment 1 regarding shoot and root weights. Treatment 2 showed significant differences in dry and fresh weight between the control and 20% and 30%. There were visual quality differences with spider plants in Treatment 2 and also significant differences in shoot and root weights between control and all percentages of worm castings in Treatment 2. Based on plant performances, a recommendation to Ferry-Morse Seed Company was to market worm castings in conjunction with a regular fertilizer schedule for maximum plant quality.
Bridget K. Behe and Dennis J. Wolnick
Market segmentation is an, efficient method of defining consumer groups to develop new markets. The purpose of this research was to determine the viability of market segmentation strategies based on volume and location of purchase. A sample of 401 Pennsylvania floral consumers was divided into groups based on the number and the primary location of floral purchases. Two discriminant analyses were conducted to determine differences between market segments. Heavy floral consumers exhibited a higher level of floral knowledge, purchased more floral products for themselves and from nonflorist retailers, and had higher incomes than light or medium floral users. Florist customers purchased fresh flowers more frequently, bought more floral gifts, and spent a higher amount per purchase than supermarket customers. Segmentation based on volume of purchase and primary retail location are both viable alternatives for market development strategies for floral consumers.
John R. Peters
The development of the Peters 20-l O-20 water-soluble fertilizer took place at a time when energy and raw materials costs were rising at a double digit rate. Developing a product that could save money for greenhouse crop growers and meet the high performance standards established by the company was the challenge. Product, market, pricing, distribution, and communication issues and strategies were considered in the product development. In 10 years, this new product line became the company's best-selling product line.
Bridget K. Behe
Michigan fresh asparagus marketers were interested in profiling asparagus consumers in the Northeast and Midwest with regard to preferences, purchases, preparation, and consumption. A computer-assisted survey was conducted with a total of 1126 respondents representative of the population on average in 12 selected states in the Northeast and Midwest. Even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends adults consume three servings of vegetables daily, on average over the 2 weeks before taking the survey, 62% did not. Only 39% of the persons in the sample ate fresh asparagus in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Twenty-five percent ate it steamed on the stovetop. The conjoint analysis accounted for 63% of the variance in asparagus preference with attribute relative importance decreasing from price (42.0%), to brand (29.9%), to spear diameter (23.5%), to spear segment (4.6%). Light users consumed fresh asparagus at least once in the 4 weeks before the survey, during the peak fresh asparagus season. The potential to increase consumption in this large group (28% of the sample but 71% of asparagus consumers) is tremendous. They placed high relative importance on price per pound and will likely be the more price-sensitive group. If their consumption can be increased by one more asparagus consumption event per month, it could increase asparagus demand by 14%. Results show there is good market potential for a prepackaged fresh asparagus product in the Northeast and Midwest.