Ethical and social responsibility issues in grocery shopping: A preliminary typology
Authors: Memery, J., Megicks, P. and Williams, J.
Journal: Qualitative Market Research
Purpose - Despite growing awareness of ethical and social responsibility (E&SR) issues in academia and industry, investigation of their influence on consumers' buying decisions has been limited. To help fill this gap, this paper reports the findings of a preliminary investigation to establish the key E&SR factors affecting grocery shopping behaviour. Design/methodology/approach - The study drew upon existing literature in the areas of ethics, social responsibility, shopping and store image to identify the individual elements of E&SR. An exploratory qualitative study of E&SR consumers (E&SRC) was then conducted, using seven focus groups, and a typology of key factors of concern to these consumers was derived from analysis. Findings - The findings identify seven core categories, containing seventy-one sub-categories. These interlink to form three main clusters:food quality and safety, human rights and ethical trading, and environmental (green) issues. Shoppers trade off these E&SR factors against standard retail purchasing factors, in particular convenience, price and merchandise range when deciding which shops to use and what products to buy. Research limitations/implications - The typology derived from this exploratory research may be used alongside conventional store image factors in future research, to help predict those factors that influence purchasing behaviour. Similarly, it may assist brand and retail managers in profiling, and meeting the needs of, E&SRC. Originality/value - The research distinguishes differences in how shopper types vary in their behaviour, and proposes a set of implications for managers of the research and areas for further investigation. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.