ConsumerAnalytics Repository (CAR) is a new data management tool on consumer food and nutrition data available in the MCM Food Panel offices at the University of Manitoba.
A new resource tool, ConsumerAnalytics Repository (CAR), has been developed by the Manitoba Consumer Monitor Food Panel. ConsumerAnalytics is a data repository that houses a large collection of quantitative, survey-driven data that has been collected over the course of the seven-year project. In its current format it will be utilized for internal application by project staff. The project management is currently working with the Joint Research Ethics Board and participants to broaden the accessibility and potential in offering a public repository service.
This data can be used to cross examine trends that have taken place over time. Survey responses provide exclusive information directly from Manitobans and can represent changing attitudes and perceptions within the food industry, with wider implications for food policies and regulations.
Unique in Manitoba is the longitudinal framework, where the same panelists have been responding over time. Panelists have been providing an immense amount of consumer data and people want to know what they’re saying.
On the forefront of many discussions is social responsibility. Consumers are curious, seeking out more information in this digital age, and wanting to share their opinions and experiences more than ever. Food and health are topics that hold strong emotional ties for consumers and these are where quick decisions are made on a daily basis within the marketplace.
Responses received in our project’s questionnaire data can tell more than a single food story. Questions are constructed to generate demographics, general attitudes, perceptions and habits when it comes to food choices.
“The ConsumerAnalytics data repository is the only longitudinal source of information focused solely on Manitoba consumers. The power of this data comes from the number of participants across the province, the length of the study, our high standards, and our skill and attention to detail in questionnaire design.” said Dr. Tammi Feltham, principal investigator from the MCMFP.
Analyzing consumer data will remain increasingly valuable in understanding purchase intentions and actions, concluded a study in the Journal of Business Ethics. The study presented results of a tested model that “demonstrated that trust and general attitudes directly affected word of mouth intention as well as purchase intentions, by playing a role as mediators in paths from transparency and social responsibility to behavioral intentions.” (Hustvedt, 2014)
Today, industries, Government and researchers must be proactive and plan strategically for challenging events, such as widespread foodborne illnesses. Consumer data can be crucial to view how the population is responding to ongoing and isolated incidents. Reacting to the evolving consumer landscape can have a positive impact on established brands and investments. “Our research has been gathering consumer data on topics ranging from biotechnology to organic foods, nutrition labels, animal welfare and sustainable agriculture for most of the last decade. Now, this information will be available to stakeholders at the click of a button, and it should assist many within the agri-food industry to take advantage of all we have learned on our journey to explore Manitoba consumers’ opinions on a wide array of contemporary issues” said University of Manitoba professor Dr. Jared Carlberg, principal investigator from the MCMFP.
Responses received from the panel demonstrate strong opinions that can help shape strategies in agriculture awareness, marketing outreach and areas of innovation where further research is needed.
For instance, Manitoba panelists have indicated their opinions on who they trust to provide credible and trustworthy information, such as when it comes to farming practices. More than half of Manitobans trust the information they receive on food and farming from public food and health inspectors. On the other hand, Dietitians, health organizations (such as the RHAs), and agricultural experts appear at the bottom of the trust index.
Up to 1/3 of these same panelists provided a neutral position towards biotechnology. There is opportunity in this data to create trust in this area of agriculture. (MCMFP Analytical Report, 2016)
Consumer perceptions and behaviours take shape over time and weigh differently based on demographics and lifestyle. “This new resource tool will allow comparisons of our data over time, and give a snapshot of what consumers are doing, why they’re doing it, and who they trust. The confidentiality of our participants will be protected, as per our research ethics requirements at the University of Manitoba,” said Jocelyne Gaudet, PHEc., project coordinator for the MCMFP.
ConsumerAnalytics will allow agri-food industries, governing sectors and academic researchers the ability to access MCM Food Panel’s extensive collection of consumer-generated data on one system. From food lifestyle preferences to motivating factors for food purchase decisions, the results are can be found in CAR – driving consumer research and innovation.
Hustvedt, J. K. (2014). Building Trust Between Consumers and Corporations: The Role of Consumer Perceptions of Transparency and Social Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 253-265.
MCMFP Analytical Report. (2016, September 1). Food and Biotechnology: Trends and Patterns. Retrieved October 10, 2017, from MCM Food Panel: http://www.mcmfoodpanel.ca/wp-content/uploads/Survey-Summary-Food-and-Biotechnology-16-02-01-Sept-2016.pdf
MCMFP Analytical Report. (2016, July 13). Farming Practices: Trends and Patterns. Retrieved October 6, 2017, from MCM Food Panel: http://www.mcmfoodpanel.ca/wp-content/uploads/Farming-Practices-trends-and-Patterns-Report-Summary-16-03.pdf