Galaxy Chocolate Product Quality for Consumer Perception

Abstract

Galaxy Chocolate is one of the leading brands of chocolate worldwide. In Dubai, it is one of the most sought-after chocolates by chocolate lovers. The company is a distinguished multinational that also promotes healthy living and environmental protection. Galaxy has different brands classified according to form and flavor.

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This study focuses on the taste of chocolate as an intrinsic cue and Galaxy advertising as an extrinsic cue. Which of the two – the intrinsic or the extrinsic values – influences consumer perception is the major topic for this dissertation. Galaxy chocolate has a different taste in the perception of its loyal tasters or consumers. But it also uses effective advertising in Dubai, which is persuasive, to say the least.

There are intrinsic and extrinsic values of Galaxy that make it stick to the memory and sense of taste of its consumers. Why do customers prefer Galaxy chocolate when all chocolates taste like chocolate?

This study used literature review and survey questionnaires in testing the hypotheses. There are three hypotheses for this present study, which state that: taste as an intrinsic value and advertising, as an extrinsic value, influence consumer satisfaction and the decision to purchase the product. The third hypothesis is a combination of the two, and all hypotheses were tackled in the discussion. It is worthwhile to state from the beginning that taste was proven as the intrinsic cue that influenced consumers to buy Galaxy chocolate, more than advertising.

All of these were provided with qualitative and quantitative studies, along with an indepth literature review about intrinsic and extrinsic values of chocolates, and consumer perception.

Introduction

Profile of Galaxy Chocolate

Galaxy Chocolate, one of the food companies operated by Mars Incorporated, is one of the leading chocolate brands in the UK today. Its market is globally oriented with milk chocolate as its main product, in which the different brand names are based on taste and flavor.

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The company’s mission and goal are not only to sell chocolates but to promote healthy living, social well-being, environment protection and preservation and to enhance economic development for the present and future generations. Galaxy Chocolate sees to it that all their chocolate products bear the brand logo and seal of ‘Rainforest Alliance’. (“Galaxy: Our Collaboration with Rainforest Alliance” par. 2)

The seal is the company’s symbol of commitment for environmental sustainability. The green frog, representing the forest and a symbol of people’s friendship with the environment, appears with the chocolates. One consumer may ask: what has chocolate to do with the frog and the environment? But it’s there to remind us of a popular novel character’s warning that for every box of chocolate, you got to know what you’re doing.

In 2012, the company opened its first manufacturing plant in the Gulf. This was built in Jeddah with a capitalization of $60 million and has produced Galaxy chocolate bars known as Galaxy Jewels. That plant has served the millions of chocolate consumers in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the entire Gulf region. (McGinley par. 1)

Chocolates are for consumption, but Galaxy Chocolate insists that every chocolate bite must be accompanied with a sense of responsibility. Galaxy wants to inform the general public that the company is not only involved in delivering tasty chocolates but is also concerned with corporate responsibility. The company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) is to help farmers around the world acquire access to knowledge and techniques for wildlife protection. Cocoa, a raw material for chocolate production, is sourced from farmers around the world who are also committed to Galaxy’s values. Together, Galaxy and the farmers are committed to protect the environment. (“Galaxy: Our Collaboration with Rainforest Alliance” pars. 4-5)

The company has a variety of chocolate products, classified or named according to size and flavor. Smooth milk comes in different sizes, from 46 gram chocolates to as large as 390 grams. Galaxy bubbles are decorated with bubbles made of, well, chocolate which also comes in different sizes. The Galaxy Caramel can be tasted by just glancing at it – there’s that smoothness that only comes with this kind of palate-enhancing food for the sense of taste and not for the stomach.

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Minstrels is not the name of a singing group in the sixties, but it’s being sold worldwide (as a chocolate) by Galaxy Chocolate, and it’s running out of stock. It also comes in different sizes and forms – round, oblong, or a shape that sticks to one’s memory as Galaxy Minstrel. The name and the taste sound lady-like.

What about hazelnut chocolate and those coming in fantastic colours like orange and brown or red? Not only are they captivating to one’s eyes, the taste delivers extra splendor. Hazelnut is believed therapeutic, although there are no studies to prove it. But if you believe it does, it may deliver the therapy you long for.

The last, though it may not be the last because there are many other flavors the company would like to introduce worldwide, is Galaxy Ripple which is appropriate for snacks. If you have company, you can buy the ‘ten-by-seventeen gram’, something you and your loved one would love to taste and recall, even until sleep.

Statement of the Problem

Different products, particularly food products and delicacies, use several techniques to make an impression on customer behavior and perception. Chocolates may have almost the same taste and appeal to children and adults. All chocolates taste delicious, but sensitive tastes look for the brand which has a distinctive taste. Galaxy chocolate has a different taste in the perception of its loyal tasters or consumers.

Chocolates are eaten more for pleasure rather than its nutritional value (Bolenz et al. 28). Does taste really affect customer propensity to buy or repeat-purchase? Logically, the answer is yes. Nobody buys food which does not suit to one’s taste. But a question should be addressed to Galaxy chocolate ‘aficionados’ – do customers buy Galaxy because of its taste? What persuades consumers to buy Galaxy chocolate? Is advertising convincing enough to persuade Galaxy consumers to buy the product? Or is it because of advertising that consumers prefer this kind of chocolate?

There are intrinsic and extrinsic values of Galaxy that make it everlasting to the memory and sense of taste of its consumers. What are these? Why do customers prefer Galaxy chocolate when all chocolates taste like chocolate? These and the many questions on why consumers in the UK and in the UAE, particularly Dubai, love Galaxy chocolate will be seriously dealt with in this paper by providing qualitative and quantitative studies, along with an indepth literature review about intrinsic and extrinsic values of chocolates.

Objectives

  1. To determine the impact of intrinsic value on consumers’ perception in terms of taste.
  2. To determine the impact of extrinsic value on consumers’ perception in terms of advertising.

Hypotheses

Hypothesis 1: Taste as an intrinsic value influences customers’ perception and decision to purchase the product, which is Galaxy chocolate.

Hypothesis 2: Galaxy advertising is effective in convincing possible customers to choose Galaxy chocolate instead of another brand.

Hypothesis 3: Both taste and advertising define quality in consumers’ perception of quality.

Research Question

What is the impact of intrinsic and extrinsic attributes of Galaxy chocolates on consumer perception?

Scope and Limitations of the Study

This study will focus on the market segment of Galaxy chocolate which is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Dubai market has an increased growth in chocolate consumption attributed to an increase in the population’s standard of living.

In Britain, everyone can afford to buy chocolate, which has become a part of the staple food. The geographic limitation will hinder some access to valuable information that can be sourced from customers, as the surveys will be composed of questionnaires and some follow up interviews.

Significance of the Study

This study is important for the course since this will give us indepth knowledge on intrinsic and extrinsic values of products that will lead to the understanding of customer perception and propensity to buy and loyalty of a brand. Moreover, the case study is Galaxy Chocolate, an international company owned and operated by Mars Incorporated. A study on this international business firm will provide knowledge on the importance of brand and branding.

Definition of Terms

Can chocolates be considered hedonic products? Hedonic products are products that provide pleasure, or are products with emotional value. Other products are classified as utilitarian and are made to provide functions for daily life. (Hoyer and Stokburger-Sauer 167)

Culture influences the buying pattern for a certain product. For example, Britons have a particular appetite for chocolates. They normally eat eight ounces of chocolate a week (Barrow 124). It is then logical to state that chocolate is important in the food intake of Britons. If chocolate is important in a person’s daily intake, it is not anymore considered hedonic product but a staple food.

In the UAE, consumers prefer chocolate according to taste and flavor. This was the result of a study using TNS Tracker Plus (“AMEinfo.com: Sweet Trends – The Chocolate Market in Saudi Arabia and UAE” par. 6) comparing chocolate intake from UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). KSA consumers prefer the form of chocolate, such as tablets or bars. Tablets are believed associated with delicious taste. UAE citizens are also fond of using chocolate as gifts. (“AMEinfo.com: Sweet Trends – The Chocolate Market in Saudi Arabia and UAE” par. 6)

Chocolate is now a favorite of the Emirates and chocolate manufacturing industry is growing. In 2011, UAE citizens had consumed about nine thousand tonnes of chocolate. With the growth of the industry and the demand, chocolate manufacturers and industry experts have discovered that camel milk can provide a tasty chocolate (“AMEinfo.com: Sweet Trends – The Chocolate Market in Saudi Arabia and UAE” par. 7). This topic however is not within the scope of this research since this will be focused on Galaxy Chocolate and not on camel-milk chocolate.

Intrinsic value

What consumers have in mind and what they can recall of the properties or features of a particular product is called the intrinsic value of that product. For example, all chocolates may have the same taste, but for a branded chocolate such as Galaxy chocolate, it may have a distinct taste which is a feature of this brand of chocolate.

Galaxy chocolate, according to the company website, is a delicious food that has nutritional value. This information is the chocolate’s intrinsic value but it is how the consumer remembers the taste that makes it a distinctive feature. But what is in the mind of the consumer may not actually be a part of the product profile. This is another concept called brand image which is based on the customer’s own views. Customers have different interpretations of the brand’s features or characteristics, in the case of chocolates, the taste of the product. Brand image is based on this concept. (Tifferet and Herstein 55)

Extrinsic value

Advertising plays a key role in consumer perception of a product. Extrinsic value is revealed when the customer is convinced to buy the product by way of advertising. Apart from taste, other aspects or values that influence the customer to buy the product are: quality, price, and customer perception. Labeaga and colleagues argued that most customers prefer to buy a product because of quality (qtd. in Tifferet and Herstein 55).

Does quality include taste? Again, logically taste defines the quality of food or chocolate. You can’t have quality chocolate if it’s not tasteful for consumers. But taste is different. All consumers have different tastes for a product. Taste is affected by the ingredients of the product. The concluding taste influences all customers. They stick into the minds of consumers and become a distinct quality for that product.

Overview

This is one of the most important parts of the dissertation because it builds up the basis for the study, the objectives, the research questions and the hypotheses. First, the section introduced the company Galaxy Chocolate as the case study. Galaxy Chocolate is the leading chocolate companies in the UK but its market is global. Chocolate as food intake has an international appeal to millions of people around the world. Chocolate has become a staple food among many Britons.

What makes the company Galaxy remarkable is that it is environment-friendly. As cocoa, the raw material for chocolate, is sourced in many parts of the world, Galaxy sees to it that extraction of raw material does not abuse the environment.

As stated, this section provides the background for building the parameters for the dissertation. The intrinsic and extrinsic cues of the product, particularly chocolate, are explained as its role in the consumer perception.

The three inter-related hypotheses are introduced, which gave this Researcher reasons and objectives in pursuing this study. To sum it up, this section provided a reason in conducting the research.

Literature Review

Theoretical/Conceptual Framework

A product is said to be a collection of cues with each cue contributing to how the product can be felt by consumers. Each cue provides information in accordance with the product’s predictive value (PV) and confidence value (CV). PV is defined as the level in which consumers relate the feature with the product’s quality, while CV refers to the confidence customers exhibit as an authority to relate the feature as a measure of quality. (qtd. in Méndez, Oubiña and Rubio 1231)

The collection of cues is classified into intrinsic and extrinsic attributes of the product. Intrinsic cues in products are those features which can only be altered when their physical attributes are changed. Examples of intrinsic cues, or traits, include components, flavor, newness, quality, fragrance and dietary value. Extrinsic cues are those attributes which are not part of the product but refer to the product, like price, brand name or logo, advertising, labeling and packaging. (Mendez et al. 1231)

How customers perceive of the intrinsic and extrinsic cues relate to the quality of the product. When we say intrinsic, it is inherent to the product; extrinsic cues, on the other hand, are alterable and do not refer to the inherent quality of the product. But even if extrinsic cues do not refer to the quality of the product, they significantly influence customers’ insight of the product, particularly showmanship or quality of the product. Other extrinsic qualities, aside from price and others mentioned above, include retail outlet and country of origin (COO) (Veale and Quester 195).

There have been studies proving that extrinsic cues are more powerful than sensory perception, and are easily seen or felt by consumers. Price can be a powerful extrinsic cue than taste. In a study by Pechmann and Ratneshwar (qtd. in Veale and Quester 197), they found a surprising result in studying orange juice quality wherein respondents preferred a lower quality juice but with a high price than a lower quality juice with a low price, provided however, that the respondents had not tasted other juice samples. Quality in the perception of consumers can be enhanced through branding or labeling, but there are times that consumers assume the quality of the product (Veale and Quester 197).

Purwar (qtd. in Méndez et al. 1231) added that extrinsic cues are also more easily identified, incorporated and understood than intrinsic cues, which are more difficult to process. Because of this, consumers put more CV emphasis to extrinsic cues than to intrinsic ones. But in finding the real product quality, consumers would like to see the intrinsic cues than the extrinsic ones. It is also realistic to state that the predictive value (PV) attributed to intrinsic cues is more than that for extrinsic ones (qtd. in Méndez et al. 1231).

Moreover, intrinsic and extrinsic cues are incorporated into the definition of quality. Quality in a product means that a product has the features that meet customers’ needs, which must be significant to popular quality perceptions. A company’s objective therefore should be to continuously improve the product according to customers’ specifications in order to meet their quality desires for the product (Acebrón and Dopico 229). If a product has quality, it is fit for consumption and may satisfy consumer needs. The objective and subjective quality are added in the definition by the Society for Quality Control, which states that quality has the capacity to satisfy customers’ “latent needs” (Kotler et al. qtd. Méndez et al. in 1232).

Quality refers to product or service features that provide a permanent relationship in their ability to meet customers’ needs and wants. Brands with their intrinsic and extrinsic values to satisfy customers’ needs can be said to have quality. Bellizi et al. (qtd. in Méndez et al. 1232) provided a study using a Likert scale in measuring customers’ attitudes of several intrinsic and extrinsic cues, for example design, physical appearance, and entire weighted quality. The researchers found several discrepancies in the evaluation of extrinsic cues to favor on company brands. Another study by Cunningham et al. (qtd. in Méndez et al. 1232) indicated that consumers measured intrinsic and extrinsic cues of company brands more positively than store brands.

In the study by Veale and Quester, they found extrinsic cues that were more influential in forming consumer perceptions about product quality, and these were “price, brand, retail outlet and country of origin” (Veale and Quester 195). But research studies found that consumers are not expert in prejudging the quality or in assessing it after purchase (qtd. in Veale and Quester 196). The reasons behind are that they did not fully understand the intrinsic cues, they lacked self-confidence, or, they misinterpreted or did not have access to information. (Veale and Quester 196)

In the study of Veale and Quester comparing several extrinsic cues, they found price as the most important trait that influenced consumer perception pertaining to what they called brie quality which had the importance of 43.99 %. Fat as an intrinsic cue was second only. (Veale and Quester 201)

Consumer Perception

There are several factors that influence consumer perception. Globalization has brought in several factors on marketing, and international marketing has been very much affected. One example is COO, or country of origin. Consumer decisions of quality are affected by COO. Consumer judgments are affected by COO because this tends to determine quality of the product. For example, products from Japan which are perceived of high quality, are more preferred by many consumers than products that come from, say, other countries in Asia. Therefore, quality is affected by COO which in turn affects consumer perception of the product. (Chueh and Kao 70)

Quality sticks in the mind of the consumer. The perceived quality in the consumer’s mental image is different from the “actual or objective quality”. Perceived quality may influence consumer satisfaction, which is also associated to the product’s “perceived performance and expectation” (qtd. in Chueh and Kao 71). Consumer satisfaction may lead to consumer’s decision to purchase.

Consumers would like a product that provides important functional, iconic, sentimental, cognitive and local benefits which can lead to their own satisfaction. Brand image provides clues to explaining the concepts of brand selection and customer perception. Brand image is not what the company owner, or marketer, builds up but rather what the customer builds up in mind regarding the attractive features of the product.

Related Studies

In a study by Keller (qtd. in Farhat and Khan 2), it was found that brand image refers to what the customer has in memory about the brand and its features. Another definition of brand image refers to the picture and features built up in the customer’s memory. Levy (qtd. in Farhat and Khan 93) argued that consumers do not look at the significant functions of products but are affected by the features and symbols about goods and products in the marketplace.

Researchers followed up this notion with the concept in mind that consumers prefer goods in order to build up or develop a mental image, or what these researchers termed “self-image” or “self-concept”. Self-concept leads to the notion of congruency. Congruity theory states that there is congruence between what the consumer has built up in memory and the perception of the image of the brand. This is a concept of consumer perception or the consumer’s preference to choose and buy the brand. (Farhat and Khan 93)

The importance of congruence between “user imagery and brand personality” is the subject of several studies by researchers and marketers, particularly the study by Keller, which found that congruence is significant in knowing the extrinsic benefits of certain brands. Consumers would like to buy brands which are congruent with the self image, and the more important thing is the relationship between what the consumer has in mind of the brand and the brand itself (qtd. in Farhat and Khan 95).

Taste, an intrinsic cue

Consumer tastes are measured by sales data and survey research, including interviews in the field and other research studies. The data may provide valuable information but exact causes of taste perception may be too difficult to identify. Taste testing, such as blind testing or comparison of two products by blindfolded subjects, can provide good testing information. The best way to acquire taste preference information is to have a lot of data from various researches. The question that should be addressed in this section is to determine the taste preference of chocolate consumers.

Taste is formed in the mind of consumers from experience. Taste experience is an example of consumption experience. Consumption experience refers to a recent experience out of several interrelationships “in constant reciprocal interaction with personal, environmental, and situational inputs” (qtd. in Zarantonello and Luomala 55).

There are various contextual factors leading to the consumption experience, for example, in the consumption of food, experience starts with the buying experience leading to other activities in food consumption. Place can be a factor, or a different experience, when a consumer buys food, i.e. the place creates a different consumption experience. The presence of other people can also influence the consumption experience. The type of the store can provide a different consumption experience. In another instance, as a consumer buys food from a restaurant – a restaurant with a brand name, a popular chef, and quality food – the consumer can feel an “experiential phenomenon”, a kind of experience which stimulates the five senses. (Zarantonello and Luomala 56)

Taste is a part of the consumption experience. Taste is influenced by the ingredients used in creating the product, particularly chocolate. This was the result of a study conducted by Bolenz and colleagues in their assessment of ingredients on chocolate quality. Consequently, the testing activity concluded the general liking of the product. The ingredients had specific measurement of “particle size/sandiness, viscosity/melting mouthfeel and milk flavor” which all affected the taste for the product (Bolenz et al. 28).

Manufacturers use product development to enhance product taste and consumer liking, which is an important factor in product success. As said in the introduction, consumers eat chocolate for pleasure and not for its nutritional value (Bolenz et al. 28), but this is not to say that consumers didn’t recognize Galaxy Chocolate’s website content that their chocolates have had nutritional value (“Galaxy: Health, Active Lifestyles” par. 1). In the study of Bolenz and colleagues, the results indicated that ingredients that produced the taste had an effect on consumer liking for milk chocolate because of the quality-triggering factors that included “particle size/sandiness, viscosity/melting mouthfeel and milk flavor” (Bolenz et al. 33).

The study of Zarantonello and Luomala asked the respondents to record daily chocolate consumption in their diaries, and all respondents said that they loved chocolate to satisfy their senses, particularly the sense of taste. They felt more satisfied with their love of chocolate when they were provided their favourite chocolate, but any chocolate brand also satisfied their sense of taste. Consumers who preferred dark chocolate noted their love for the dark colour and “the dry aftertaste, and clear, intense, bitter flavor”. Consumers who loved milk chocolate valued the sweet flavor and the stimulation in the mouth as they pleasured the taste of chocolate. The study also emphasized the chocolate flavor which was liked by the respondents, without other additional food. (Zarantonello and Luomala 63)

Other respondents said they liked chocolate with added nuts, orange rinds, bread, coffee, milk, wine, and salt. Other flavours that add to the delicious taste of chocolate are “vanilla, cinnamon, chilli, rose, ginger, faucet, orange, and mint” Zarantonello and Luomala 63).

In the Gulf region, manufacturers add vegetable and milk fat to prevent the chocolate from melting too quickly. Chocolates here are sweeter than other chocolates because UAE people love to eat sweeter food with less cocoa content. Chocolates are added with almond, cashew, or walnut. The people are also fond of black chocolate. With the discovery of Camel milk as ingredient for chocolate, manufacturing of this kind of food does not cost much for chocolate companies which have been growing in the region. (Robinson pars. 8-9)

Advertising, an extrinsic cue

In creating effective advertising programs, advertisers determine how the consuming public can be influenced, or persuaded. There are two types of consumers, the “loyals” and the switchers. The loyals are those resigned to just one brand while the switchers prefer to have many brands. Advertisers focus their “propaganda” on these two segments in selling their brands, i.e. to persuade or convince consumers into buying their brands (Barnard and Ehrenberg 21). Consumers depend on extrinsic cues (such as advertising) in determining product quality.

Integrated promotion mix refers to multiple promotion aspects integrated in one medium, for example social media. The popularity of the Internet has provided a different kind of advertising and promotion for firms and websites. Individuals or ‘citizens of the Internet’ (the coined word is ‘netizens’) can communicate with other people who are in the other side of the globe by means of a computer with Internet connection. The advantage is the existence of consumer-to-business communication. Customers can also interact with websites and firms through the Internet. Businesses and organizations can advertise through thousands of websites, with a minimal fee, unlike billboard advertising and TV ads which are very costly. (Glynn and Faulds 357)

Some researchers argue that sales are negatively affected by price promotions (Foekens et al.; Jedidi et al. qtd. in Ataman, Van Heerde, and Mela 871). On the other hand, discounts provided by firms have negative effect on price elasticities. Brand-oriented advertising, which does not focus on price, enhances brand image, impacts on product awareness, and enhances differentiation and brand equity (Aaker qtd. in Ataman et al. 871).

A theory states that advertising triggers competition in providing information to the consuming public about products and alternatives. Another theory on market power states that advertising enhances product differentiation. Price elasticity here is lower than the effects of the first theory. Finally, ‘brand-oriented advertising increases price elasticity while price-oriented advertising decreases’ price elasticity (Ataman et al. 871).

Brand preference can be influenced by advertisement. But there are authors who argue that advertising only promotes and reminds consumers of the brand features. Advertising is merely for informing the public but it doesn’t affect satisfaction and consumer perception of the product. Advertising is a creative way of informing the public but it is not made to persuade customers to buy or differentiate it from other brands. When Coca-Cola advertises, it demonstrates how refreshing the soft drinks but it is not made to persuade consumers to buy because it has always been a popular product bought for its refreshing taste. (Ataman et al. 873)

Another argument strengthened by Ehrenberg (2000) is that advertising has no strong persuasive effect although it plays a significant role in the awareness-trial-reinforcement sequence in which consumers first gain “awareness or interest” for the product, then purchase and finally make a buying habit. Ehrenberg (2000) states that “repeat buying” determines the sales volume for the brand as advertising only reinforces the persuasive effect. Repetitive advertising has a major role for this.

Schematic Diagram: Independent and Dependent Variables

From the theories and studies mentioned in the literature, this present study can provide a diagram emphasizing on the intrinsic and extrinsic cues as variables. This is demonstrated below.

Independent and dependent variable diagram.
Figure 1 Independent and dependent variable diagram. .

The diagram in Figure 1 shows the independent variables, taste as intrinsic cue and advertising as extrinsic cue, which influences the dependent variable customer perception. The diagram is a reflection of the hypotheses, which determine the outcome of the research, whether taste or advertising or both, influence customer perception in buying Galaxy chocolate.

Synthesis/Overview

The literature review is not only a significant part of the whole dissertation, it is itself a methodology because it combines research or work of other authors, analyzes past studies and compares them with present studies. Literature review can be regarded as qualitative and quantitative studies; qualitative in the sense that we get the opinion and ideas of experts in the field and compare them. It is quantitative because we can collect studies and researches from databases, which used quantitative studies, and create our own conclusion based from those studies.

This section provided definitions and explanations on important subjects that have key roles in unraveling the hidden knowledge behind intrinsic and extrinsic cues of products.

One of the key topics was consumer perception. Consumer perception is affected by several extrinsic cues, not just advertising. Extrinsic cues include country of origin (COO), or price. Consumer perception about quality is affected by COO.

The literature review focused on taste as intrinsic cue, and it was compared with other intrinsic cues or values that referred to the quality of the product as perceived by consumers. With taste, the literature also delved on one extrinsic value or cue which was advertising. These two cues influenced the hypotheses and will eventually be a factor in the conclusion. Again, the hypotheses states that either taste, as intrinsic cue, or advertising as extrinsic cue, influenced quality and the customers’ decision to purchase the product, particularly Galaxy chocolate. The hypotheses is reflected and explained by way of a schematic diagram on independent variables (taste and advertising) and dependent variable (customer perception).

Research Methodology

Research Design

The methodology consisted of qualitative and quantitative studies. One of the methods was literature review which drew data and information from vast sources through online journals and articles, from databases and physical library. Review of the literature acquired information from studies conducted by experts and authors. This was analyzed and consolidated with survey responses on customers of Galaxy Chocolate in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Literature review is considered qualitative while questionnaire quantitative that would make this methodology effective as this study compared both results and produced a critical analysis and valid reasoning. Reviews assist in the understanding of difficult researches and subjects, including the strengths and weaknesses of those studies. Works of authors and experts in the field were analysed and incorporated into the main body to provide a comparison and create a new concept and idea out of the different ideas and opinions. Questionnaires and interviews help in testing the hypothesis and in answering the research question. Literature reviews and questionnaires support each other in providing evidence for the dissertation’s case.

Literature reviews summarize and assess the researcher’s work and determine its place in the body of the writing or the thesis proper. When a researcher conducts a scholarly literature review, the researcher becomes knowledgeable of the important variables and other significant information about the research subject. An effective literature review enables the researcher to unify past and present studies and bring to fruition a new knowledge. An excellent review provides a critical and analytical study of the data collected from the different sources.

How was the literature collected?

First, we used search words and search engine optimization. By applying search words from online databases ABI/INFORM, EBSCOHost, Academic Search Premier, Academic Search Complete, the study produced results, even momentarily. The systematic method in drawing articles and journals provided little efforts and time in looking at the vast sources. And all we had was an array of journals and articles ready for perusal and vast reading.

However, the journals and articles had to be read and analyzed, and then a process of inclusion and exclusion had to be done. Inclusion and exclusion required reading those materials to qualify them to be part of the sources to be used in the research. The fact that they contained literature about customer perception, and intrinsic and extrinsic cues, did not qualify the articles to be part of the study. Qualification of articles or journals included time and place the studies were conducted, authorship, relation of the study to this current study, including the scholarly contents if they had something to do with taste as intrinsic cue and advertising as extrinsic cue in chocolates.

Looking for articles and journals – and books – is a major undertaking of a research. Research also includes browsing, reading, and taking of notes. When search engine optimization provided this Researcher the necessary and qualified sources, the next step was to study them one by one. Studying required a lot of reading and condensation of the contents to be part of the main body of the literature review. The articles and work of authors and past researchers had to be paraphrased to avoid plagiarism. The review did not just involve a narration of facts; rather, it included analyses of the various works of authors and comparison of those articles with present studies. Critical analysis was also an important method because it produced a scholarly interpretation of those articles.

This current study also used questionnaires to collect data and information from a sample population, consumers who frequented in a Dubai mall. The results were analysed and compared with the current literature. The literature review and the survey research were both qualitative and quantitative. A synthesis of the data and information provided evidence to test the hypothesis and prove theories for this dissertation.

The two methods used in the research provided reliability and validity. There is reliability if two types of tests or procedures produce an almost similar or comparable data, or the results are consistent. Validity refers to the degree wherein something that is measured corresponds to what is expected. (Fraenkel and Wallen 356)

Interviewing is used to verify the accuracy of what was observed. In this present study, interviews were used to verify and to gain confidence of consumers to answer the questions in the questionnaires. The questions in the questionnaires were quantitative.

Structured and semistructured interviews are questionnaires transmitted verbally. These are questions designed to acquire specific answers from respondents. Once information is obtained, it can be compared and contrasted with previous answers or from the literature. Informal interviews are like casual conversations which are most common in qualitative research. They have no standard type questioning and the questions are quite informal. The primary purpose of informal interview is to know what people think of a particular subject or topic and how this can be compared with another view. (Fraenkel and Wallen 455)

Although informal interviews look like easy to conduct, they are more difficult than other interview types. This is because of the ethical issues involved. There are times that researchers have to decide what things to do, or what questions to ask, as the interview is being conducted. For example, a situation may arise whether the question is too personal to ask. To what extent should the researcher go on with the type of questioning if it’s already too personal, yet the information required is needed in the study? What follow-up questions should be asked and what should be refrained? Although informal interviews offer a natural situation for the interview, there seems to be some degree of artificiality in this kind of interviewing. But an experienced interviewer knows how to ask nonthreatening questions that provide ease and comfort for the respondent, or that which motivates the respondent to provide honest responses. (Fraenkel and Wallen 455)

Respondents of the Study

A sample population was composed of consumers who regularly take Galaxy chocolates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Email addresses were obtained from customers in a Dubai mall who were then sent letter requests, informing them of the surveys on customers’ perception of Galaxy chocolate in terms of intrinsic and extrinsic product attributes. They were informed of the academic goals of the research and there were no business or academic purposes.

Before they were sent emails, they were informally interviewed and asked of their information about chocolates and the brand Galaxy. Many of these prospective respondents were Emiratis, regular mall customers who were young, still studying, and were chocolate lovers. As soon as we got their enthusiasm and interest over the subject proposed to them (chocolates, of course), we asked them to be a part of the survey and explained to them the mechanics. We asked their opinion about it and got hold of their emails. Immediately during that instance, a bond was formed between this Researcher and the prospective respondents who were very cooperative to students like this Researcher.

Sample Survey

A sample survey uses a sample to elicit information. Fraenkel and Wallen (2006) defines sample as a study group on which information is acquired. This group belongs to a larger group known as population. In this present study about Galaxy chocolate, the sample is the 80 consumers taken from a Dubai mall. The population here is composed of chocolate consumers in that area in Dubai. A sample is said to be representative of the population, or, to say it plainly, what they say and reveal must reflect the sentiments or the general opinion of the population. While this study used a sample survey of 80 participants from a Dubai mall, their opinion or collective idea, may not be representative of the entire population of chocolate lovers. But they can represent the chocolate lovers of the Dubai mall.

In selecting a sample, the population must first be identified or defined. They may have a common interest, for example, they are all chocolate lovers. Since we were investigating about the taste of chocolate, it was necessary that all members of the sample were chocolate lovers.

Research Instrument: The questionnaire

The questionnaire method was a method of eliciting information from chocolate consumers. The questionnaires were submitted to the participants through email and were interviewed in a Dubai mall. Questionnaire method was considered and found effective since the questionnaires were only sent through emails and collected at a later date.

The questions were multiple-choice questions in which the respondents were required to tick their preferred answer for a particular question. The questions dealt with two important subjects in the study: taste and advertising, intrinsic and extrinsic cues of product quality, particularly Galaxy chocolate.

The questions dealt on demographic (gender and age groups), addiction to chocolate, and why the respondents preferred Galaxy chocolates. Most of all, the questions asked whether taste or advertising influenced the respondents’ perception and decision to purchase Galaxy chocolate.Most of the questions were called sensory questions. Sensory questions ask about what the respondent has seen, heard, tasted, smelled, or touched (Fraenkel and Wallen 458). Specifically, the questions asked the respondents’ taste of Galaxy chocolate and why they preferred the taste.

As soon as the respondents sent back the questionnaires with their corresponding responses, the answers had to be formatted in tables and charts for simplification. Graphs and charts, using excel, were provided and made part of this dissertation. The responses were consolidated, analyzed and compared or related with the literature review. The questionnaire is attached as Appendix A.

The Regression Analysis

Regression is a method using statistics to determine the relationship of two or more variables. There are two variables to be examined in this dissertation: taste and advertising. The question that needs to be answered is: do consumers buy chocolate because of the taste or they were persuaded by an effective advertising? In answering this question and in testing the hypotheses, this present study used survey interviews. A regression analysis was needed to analyse the data.

Regression is used in correlational research wherein significant human behaviors are explained or an outcome is predicted. The main objective of correlational research is to explain our understanding of certain phenomena by providing a correlation between variables. (Fraenkel & Wallen 336)

In developmental psychology where they use experiments, researchers analyze relationships using several variables. For example, in this study a correlation may be found using the variables taste and consumer perception, which is decision-making process (to purchase Galaxy chocolate). The two variables are not related with each other but are investigated because of their possible relation of the buying decision of consumers. Taste and advertising are not related and are separate from each other. They don’t “inform” each other: the independence is extreme. In regression analysis, the relationship of these two variables is linked via a straight line, i.e. from X to Y, with both letters representing, or labeled for, the two variables. Thus, we have the formula Y = a +bX, where a and b represent the coefficients, and the X and Y represent the independent and dependent variable, respectively.

Advertising is another variable. Do consumers buy Galaxy chocolate because of the persuasive effect of Galaxy advertisements?

Researchers conduct explanatory studies by working on a number of variables which they think are linked to a more complex variable. The complex variable in this study is “decision-making process”. Variables that have no relation, or only have a slight correlation (correlations below.20 are obtained), are dropped or not excluded in further research or investigation. (Fraenkel & Wallen 336)

Researchers who conduct correlational research are probably trying to provide a cause and effect scenario. There are instances that cause and effect is created in this kind of research but this is not established in correlational research (Fraenkel & Wallen 336). Another purpose of correlational research is to provide prediction. If a very strong relationship exists between two variables, there is a strong possibility to predict the effect of that variable on the product.

Histogram

Another term for histogram is bar graph which displays quantitative data arranged in interval and “ratio level of measurement” (Fraenkel & Wallen 193). The bars are placed in sequence from left to right, and the widths of the bars display the values. Frequencies are written on the vertical axis while zero indicates the point of intersection of the two axes. The bars in a histogram touch, which means frequencies are quantitative instead of categorical.

Average calculation

Averages are also known as “measures of central tendency” which provides clear data summary using a frequency distribution with a single number. Methods used in finding averages are the mode, the median, and the mean. Each method points to a type of average, which is a score achieved by a group of individuals on a particular measure.

The mode is common or the most frequent. The median is known as the midpoint in a distribution, or the middlemost score in a distribution where there are uneven scores. For example, if we have a distribution of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, we get the 3 as the median. The mean can be attained by adding up all the scores and divide the sum by the total number of scores.

Overview

Chapter 2, which was a review of related literature, emphasized the importance of the literature as a methodology when past researches were analyzed to test the truthfulness of our hypotheses. In this sense, Chapter 2 can be considered a “prelude” for Chapter 3, the methodology itself. Literature review as methodology is an effective strategy in testing the hypothesis and in proving theories.

On the other hand, we also used survey research by means of questionnaires/interviews among chocolate consumers in a Dubai mall. The surveys provided us with random cues on customer perception about chocolate and the Galaxy brand.

The questionnaires collected data and information from 80 male and female respondents from different age groups. The questions were multiple-choice questions wherein the respondents were required to tick their preferred answer for a particular question. The responses were analyzed and compared or related with the literature review.

This study used literature review and survey research, which are qualitative and quantitative methods. Questionnaires were sent to customers in a Dubai mall, but at the same time, we also used informal interviews and in getting the email addresses of the respondents. In selecting the sample, we identified the population, the chocolate lovers in that area in the Dubai mall. The results were analysed and compared with the current literature.

This study used the questionnaire method because it was an effective way of eliciting information from chocolate consumers. The questions were multiple-choice questions, easy for the respondents to provide their answers. The questions dealt on taste of Galaxy chocolates (sensory questions) and advertising by the company Galaxy.

Regression analysis is also part of the study. Regression uses statistics to determine the relationship of two or more variables. Another method used was histogram, which is actually a bar graph that displays quantitative data arranged in intervals. Averages are also known as “measures of central tendency”, which use the mode, the median, and the mean in average calculations.

Reflective Study

Planning, executing, and putting every step of the way into proper perspective were challenges that have been engraved in my memory the moment I embarked on this project. I always thought I would make it because I believe in myself and my capacity to encounter insurmountable problems. But I never thought I would experience those challenges and pass them with flying colors.

First, I had to select a topic that I knew best. In many of our student projects, we believe selecting topics are easy and has nothing to do with activities and programs that may bring us to moments where we have to choose. But it was one of the most difficult jobs I had to perform. It was rather easy at first, but topics, or subjects, carry with them hypotheses, problems, program of actions, solutions to problems, and so on.

What was the right topic? What subject would bring me to a good mark, not just a passing mark? I decided to select a general idea, or a general subject, and put it down into simplification. I would never be able to make my first move if I debated with myself. So I decided a strategy which was to generalize first and then simplify. This would put things in order, and at least I would be able to console myself with the thought that I had done my first move. That was all, and my first move was rather confusing.

I think I made my first mistake the moment I selected a topic to work on: I selected a topic which became the title of my work. Selecting a topic was the most important job at that moment and the title would just have to follow. But I did two jobs at the same time and succeeded in these initial challenges. The hypotheses became easy to formulate as I divided a sentence which was my first hypothesis and made it into three hypotheses.

The title, the subject or the topic, the hypotheses were done and I was on my way to more challenges – and problems.

Anyway, doing it right or wrong was not a question. We don’t know that what we are doing is right or wrong until we have reached a point. But we can always return and go back to where we started and ask what was wrong with our work.

I simplified my subject and did the laborious job – research. This is the most time-consuming and tiresome work as a writer-researcher for an “unknown” topic that will make or unmake me as a student.

How did I do it?

For people who have experienced the pains and the sorrows of student life, they know how to do it. Research may be difficult, but once you have dedicated your talent and potentials, it becomes easy.

I focused on two important subjects of my study – “taste” and “advertising”. These two words dominated my concentration and the big part of my work. They refer to intrinsic and extrinsic values of products, and other terms and related subjects are complicated. I had to delve into the complication the subject matter; otherwise, I would not be able to clearly explain it.

Taste is self-explanatory; we all know what it is. But according to authors, it becomes a technical word when you talk of food and chocolates. People don’t buy food because of what they see in the picture. People buy food because of the taste. So, it’s simple, why do consumers buy chocolates, is it because of the taste or the advertising? You can never make food or chocolate delicious or tasty by just advertising it. You have to let consumers taste your product.

My initial hypothesis was: taste and advertising are values that influence customer satisfaction and decision to buy Galaxy chocolate. I decided to divide the sentence, putting emphasis on the two subjects I was concentrating on the research – taste and advertising.

Thus, the first hypothesis is: “Taste as an intrinsic value influence customers’ perception and decision to purchase the product, which is Galaxy chocolate.”

Then I put my second topic to the second hypothesis which is: “Galaxy advertising is effective in convincing possible customers to choose Galaxy chocolate instead of another brand”. My third hypothesis is a combination of the two hypotheses: “Both taste and advertising define quality in consumers’ perception of quality.”

With this in my mind, my plans had to be placed in an outline according to the course’s outline and my own creativity. The literature review had to provide emphasis on the subjects I had formulated bringing to mind the possible conclusions and recommendations.

Another important milestone in dissertation was the conduct of the surveys and questionnaires. Survey interviews and questionnaires are almost the same. I formulated the questionnaire and since I conducted the interviews in a Dubai mall, I had to personally ask the respondents and wrote down their responses. Some of the respondents personally wrote their answers, but some were too lazy to write down that I had to assist them in writing their responses to the questions.

Most of them were very cooperative and they answered the questions to the best of their knowledge. Their responses could be summarized into several sentences. Consumers buy chocolate because of the taste and not of the advertising. Ads are there to persuade the customers to stick to the brand because of the taste. When ads are exposed on TV, customers already know the brand and the taste of Galaxy. Ads are there to remind consumers.

The discussion in the literature review had to be related to the results of the survey. It was also a challenging job – to provide a review of the literature and then link this with the results of the survey.

So, with all the researches, hypotheses and discussions, I simply put my case to rest – consumers buy Galaxy chocolates because of the taste. Advertising as an extrinsic cue remind consumers of the quality of the brand, but ads are not made to persuade, they are just there to remind. Taste as an intrinsic cue is the most important value of the product. It describes the quality of the product and consumers buy it because of the quality.

Works Cited

Acebrón, Laurentino Bello and Domingo Dopico. “The Importance of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Cues to Expected and Experienced Quality: An Empirical Application for Beef.” Food Quality and Preference. 11.1 (2000): 229-238. Elsevier Science Ltd. Web.

AMEinfo.com: Sweet Trends – The Chocolate Market in Saudi Arabia and UAE 2007. Web.

Ataman, Berk, Haralda Van Heerde, and Carl Mela. “The Long-Term Effect of Marketing Strategy on Brand Sales.” Journal of Marketing Research. 47.2 (2010): 866-882. EBSCOHost. Web.

Barnard, Neil and Andrew Ehrenberg. “Advertising: Strongly Persuasive or Nudging?” Journal of Advertising Research. 12.3 (2000): 21-31. Elsevier Science Ltd. Web.

Barrow, Colin. The Business Plan Workbook. Great Britain: Kogan Page Limited, 2008. Print.

Bolenz, Siegfried, Thomas Thiessenhusen and Rita Schäpe. “Influence of Milk Components on Properties and Consumer Acceptance of Milk Chocolate.” Eur Food Res Technol. 216.2 (2003): 28-33. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web.

Chueh, Ting-Yu and Danny Kao. “The Moderating Effects of Consumer Perception to the Impacts of Country-of-Design on Perceived Quality.” Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge. 1.2 (2004): 70-74. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web.

Ehrenberg, Andrew. “Repetitive advertising and the consumer.” Journal of Advertising Research, 40.6 (2000): 39-48. Cambridge University Press. Web.

Farhat, Reshma and Bilal Mustafa Khan. “Effect of Brand Image & Self Image Congruency on Brand Preference & Customer Satisfaction.” International Journal of Marketing and Technology. 2.3 (2012): 92-102. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web.

Fraenkel, Jack & N. Wallen. How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education (Sixth Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2006. Print.

Galaxy: Our Collaboration with Rainforest Alliance. n.d. Web.

Glynn, Mangold and David Faulds. “Social Media: The New Hybrid Element of the Promotion Mix.” Business Horizons. 52.4 (2009): 357-367. Elsevier Science Ltd. Web.

Hoyer, Wayne and Nikola Stokburger-Sauer. “The Role of Aesthetic Taste in consumer Behavior.” Journal of the Academy Marketing Science. 40.2 (2012): 167-180. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web.

McGinley, Shane. 2012. Mars to Open Chocolate Bar Factory in Saudi Arabia. Web.

Méndez, José Luis, Javier Oubiña and Natalia Rubio. “The Relative Importance of Brand-Packaging, Price and Taste in Affecting Brand Preferences.” British Food Journal. 113-10 (2011): 1229-1251. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Web.

Robinson, Oliver. The UAE’s Chocolate Industry is Sweet Business. 2011. Web.

Tsai, Mong, Chou Tsai, and Hei Chang. “The Effect of Customer Value, Customer Satisfaction, and Switching Costs on Customer Loyalty: An Empirical Study of Hypermarkets in Taiwan.” Social Behavior and Personality. 38.6 (2002): 729-740. Emerald Publishing Group. Web.

Tifferet, Sigal and Ram Herstein. “Need for Cognition as a Predictor of Store Brand Preferences.” EuroMed Journal of Business. 7.1 (2012): 54-65. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Web.

Veale, Roberta and P. Quester. “Tasting and Quality: The Roles of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Cues.” Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics. 21.1 (2009): 1355-5855. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Web.

Zarantonello, Lia and Harri Luomala. “Dear Mr Chocolate: Constructing a Typology of Contextualized Chocolate Consumption Experiences Through Qualitative Diary Research.” Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal. 14.1 (2011): 55-82. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Web.

Appendix A

Questionnaire

Galaxy

Dear Respondents,

This questionnaire is designed “To study the consumers’ perception on the Product quality of Galaxy chocolate”. This is an academic research and the information obtained will be used for study purposes.

Section – A

(Demographic Information)

Please tick (✔) on the box that indicates your answers

Gender: Male Female

Age group:

  • 20 and younger
  • 21-30
  • 31-40
  • 40-50
  • 50 and above

Section – B

(Consumer’s Perception)

Please tick (✔) on the box that indicates your answers:-

  1. Please help me know your preferences –
Yes No
I am a chocolate addict
I prefer buying Galaxy chocolate every time I buy chocolate
I have a favorite from among the different flavors of galaxy chocolate

If you say No to any of the above offers then state your reason________________________________________________________________

  1. Which type of Galaxy chocolate do you prefer the most?
  • Bites (example- jewels)
  • Tablets (example- smooth milk)
  • Bars (example- Flute)
  1. How often do you buy and eat Galaxy chocolate?
  • Very often
  • Often
  • Occasionally
  • Rare
  • Never

Rate the following questions according to the scale given below considering your view for purchasing Galaxy chocolate.

  1. Strongly Disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly Agree
  1. I consume Galaxy chocolate because it has reasonable price
  2. I consume galaxy chocolate because of its smoothness
  3. I consume Galaxy chocolate because it has frequent promotion periods.
  4. I consume Galaxy chocolate because it is a very well known brand.
  5. In your view, what is the main purpose of the Galaxy advertisement
  • Just trying to sell the product
  • Promotions
  • Product is high quality
  • Brand awareness, trying to expose itself.

Section – C

(Product quality)

Rate the following questions according to the scale given below considering the quality of Galaxy chocolates.

  1. Strongly Disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neutral
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly Agree
  1. Galaxy chocolate has a different taste than other brands.
  2. The taste of the galaxy chocolate has influenced my decision to buy.
  3. Galaxy chocolate has a delicate taste.
  4. The taste of Galaxy chocolate make me feels better.
  5. T.V. advertisement influenced my decision to buy.
  6. The ads of Galaxy chocolate meet my expectation.
  7. The ads exaggerate the real taste of galaxy chocolate.
  8. The ads of Galaxy chocolate are informative.
  9. How good is the match between what is is delivered and what is advertised?
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Average
  • Below average
  • Poor
  1. Overall, I rate the quality of Galaxy chocolate as
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Average
  • Below average
  • Poor

If you rate the quality as poor to any of the above questions then state your reason.

Or, if you have any suggestions which could improve the quality of the Galaxy chocolate please comment-__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank You for Your Time and Cooperation!!! _________________________________________________________________

Galaxy Chocolate Product Quality for Consumer Perception
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