Title page for ETD etd-09122007-220858

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author McKnight, Hannah Jane
Author's Email Address hjm@vt.edu
URN etd-09122007-220858
Title Organic Milk: Consumers and their purchasing patterns
Degree Master of Science
Department Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Leech, Irene E. Committee Chair
Mainville, Denise Y. Committee Member
Reaves, Dixie Watts Committee Member
Serrano, Elena L. Committee Member
  • Milk
  • Organic
  • Consumers
  • Purchase
  • Cluster
  • Regression
  • Theory of Reasoned Action
Date of Defense 2007-06-04
Availability unrestricted
This study was designed to characterize consumer purchases of organic milk by differentiating consumers based on buying behavior and then evaluating what personal and household characteristics were most prominent in each group. Cluster analysis was used to differentiate four groups of consumers based on their total volume of milk purchases, percentage of organic milk purchases, and frequency of milk purchases. The clusters were then characterized based on household size, household income, age of children, race, Hispanic origin, and head of household’s age, education, occupation, and gender. Regression analysis then estimated the effects of the socio-demographic variables on cluster membership.

Results were consistent with existing literature. Those who purchased the most organic milk were females with a small household, families consisting of one or two members, or larger families, usually four. These two groups of consumers differentiated themselves from one another and from the other two clusters that purchased less organic milk with larger families purchasing more milk, but a smaller percentage of organic milk purchases.

The results of identifying consumers based on their milk buying behavior can be used by marketers and educators to target individuals, based on group membership, for planning and guiding education and advertising campaigns and programs.

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