Modular Food-Related Lifestyle: A new instrument for consumer segmentation in food marketing

Authors: Birch, D., Brunso, K., Grunert, K.G. and Memery, J.

Start date: 14 June 2017

Since 1993, the Food-Related Lifestyle (FRL) instrument, consisting of 23 dimensions measured by 69 items, has been used as a device for segmentation of food consumers in many countries, with surprisingly stable results in terms of the basic structure of the emerging segments. However, as the instrument was developed more than 20 years ago, it has become increasingly clear that many dimensions of food consumption viewed as relevant today are not covered in the instrument, while some of the original items may have become outdated. Furthermore, over the years, a shorter version of the questionnaire has been called for. We propose therefore the Modular Food-Related Lifestyle, an instrument that retains the original idea of the FRL, but allows a more fine-grained, up-to-date segmentation of food consumers. We achieve this, first, by defining three core dimensions of food-related lifestyle, namely involvement with food, tradition vs. innovation in food, and food-related responsibility. These three core dimensions are, second, supplemented by 33 dimensions that cover all aspects of the meal production chain from planning and shopping via product quality aspects, storage, preparation, serving and consumption to post-consumption. The three core dimensions are measured by five items each, which we develop partly based on a re-analysis of 15 different datasets from 8 countries, and partly by developing new items. The supplementary dimensions are to be measured by three items each, as in the original FRL. The basic idea is that applications of the MFRL should always include the three core dimensions, which map onto the basic segment structure obtained in previous research, and then add those supplementary dimensions that are useful for the specific segmentation problem at hand.

For cross-cultural validation, we collect data in different countries in order to test and refine the new instrument. In addition, in partial replication of Brunsø, Scholderer and Grunert (2004), we attempt to investigate construct validity of the new instrument by relating it both to life values as measured by Schwartz’ PVQ instrument, and to food-related behaviours related to product choice, store choice, meal choice and time spent cooking.

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