Orientador: Prof. Dr. Ivanor Nunes do Prado 

 Data da Defesa: 22/06/2017



The quality perception process takes place in two phases: (i) based on the meat extrinsic and intrinsic quality cues at the purchase point and (ii) after its preparation and consumption, where it is verified if the expectations generated at the time of purchase are confirmed or not have classified the extrinsic and intrinsic quality cues and experience and credence quality. Quality cues are those factors from which consumers can make a judgment about the quality attributes present in the food. The interpretation of these indicators forms the quality expected. However, the quality expected is not always confirmed during food consumption (quality of consumption). The intrinsic quality cues are those that are part of the physical structure of a product and cannot be changed without altering the product physically. In the case of foods, they involve physiological characteristics and define their category/classification. Extrinsic quality cues are related to the product, but are not part of their physical nature. They can be manipulated by industry or commerce to increase sales or price, without changes in the product. In relation to beef, Grunert (1995) classified as intrinsic quality cues: origin, race, sex, texture, age of the animal, color, visible fat and cut; and as extrinsic quality cues: price, brand, designation of origin, presentation, point of sale, packaging and advertising. It is also necessary differentiate perceived intrinsic/extrinsic quality cues and non-perceived intrinsic and extrinsic quality cues. This is because some indicators cannot be perceived by the consumer at the time of purchase, unless some additional information is provided. Thus, for beef, perceived intrinsic quality cues are: color, freshness and visible fat; and the perceived extrinsic quality cues are: price, point of sale, presentation, designation of origin and promotion of the meat. AIMS. The aims of this work was to (i) understand what quality cues and quality attributes of beef were observed by the buyers from Paraná State - Brazil and how they value them at the purchase time; and (ii) verify if there is variation of these results due to the city size (big, medium or small) and the time that purchase was made. MATERIAL AND METHODS. This study was conducted through interviews with beef consumers (buyers) in supermarkets, after the consumers put the product in the shopping cart. The interviews were performed in three cities with different sizes (Big, Medium and Small) and at four different times on the week: Monday morning (before lunch), Monday after 6:00 pm (after traditional work time, Saturday morning (before lunch) and Saturday after 2:00 pm (traditional shopping time). 9 Interviews were conducted with 519 beef buyers in the three different cities: Curitiba - State Capital, Campo Mourão - medium size city, and Palotina - small city; in the State of Paraná, Brazil. The interviewees were classified into four age groups according to Brazilian demographic pyramid (IBGE, 2010): (i) < 24 years, (ii) between 25 and 40 years, (iii) between 41 and 55 years, and (iv) > 55 years. The questionnaire was composed of five questions, which were presented to the interviewee always in the same order (determined to minimize the effect of each question on the following ones). The answers were noted by the interviewer. Before starting the interview the data such as gender, age, date, time and supermarket were noted. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION. Percentage of forms which citations refers to Intrinsic quality cues, Extrinsic quality cues, Experience quality attributes and Credence quality attributes of beef: Classification Forms containing the terms (%) Extrinsic quality cues 50.3A Intrinsic quality cues 25.7B Credence quality attributes 9.0C Experience quality attributes 1.5D "Quality" 13.2 Not classifiable 0.3 Different uppercase letters in the column are significant different (p<0.05). In Brazil, beef is traditionally offered to the consumers previous prepackaged or it can be displayed in refrigerated counter, and be cut according to the consumer's preference by the butcher. The meat packaging can be done in the industry or in the commercial establishment. In relation to the total number of interviewees, 66.0% preferred the meat cut by the butcher, 18.6% preferred the meat packaged by the industry and 15.4% preferred the meat packed by the establishment. However, differences between cities were observed: Preference for beef presentation at the sale point according to the city size: City Size Presentation for Sale Packed by the supermarket (%) Packed by the industry (%) Cut by butcher (%) Big 16,4 25,3A 58,3B Medium 14,6 16,8A 68,6A,B Small 17,6 6,9B 75,5A Different uppercase letters in the column are significant different (p<0.05). Differences were found between cities in relation to the importance attributed to four of the presented terms: inspection, tenderness, expiration date and marbling (mean ± mean standard error): 10 City size Significance Big Medium Small (p<0.05) Packing 8.03B±0.17 8.03C±0.18 8.03D±0.17 ns. Hygiene 9.70A±0.06 9.68A±0.06 9.71A±0.05 ns Inspection 7.93Bb±0.29 8.66Ba±0.18 8.68Ca±0.17 0.034 Tenderness 8.39Bb±0.19 9.00Ba±0.13 8.99Ca±0.12 0.038 Brand 5.83C±0.28 6.53D±0.24 6.53E±0.23 ns Price 8.02B±0.19 7.99C±0.16 8.06D±0.17 ns Label 7.90B±0.23 8.20C±0.21 7.98D±0.20 ns Toilet 9.63A±0.07 9.63A±0.07 9.62A±0.07 ns Expiration date 9.75Aa±0.09 9.43Ab±0.12 9.39Bb±0.10 0.042 Marbling 5.30Cb±0.32 7.02Da±0.21 6.97Ea±0.20 0.011 Marbling by photograph Steak 3.08C±0.18 2.99C±0.15 2.93C±0.15 ns Pan 4.36B±0.19 4.34B±0.17 4.37B±0.17 ns Barbecue 4.99A±0.25 5.07A±0.21 5.14A±0.22 ns Results are expressed as mean ± standard error. Means with different lowercase letters in the same line are significantly different (p<0.05). Means with uppercase letters in the same column are significantly different (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS. Beef buyers interviewed are much more concerned with extrinsic meat quality indicators than the intrinsic ones. Among them the meat presentation and the sale point stood out. The interviewees also present little knowledge about the factors that positively influence the experience of eating beef (tenderness, juiciness and marbling) and value attributes of credibility, with the exception for expiration data. In this context, the slight importance given to the meat and the lack of knowledge about traceability are of concern. Beef buyers from medium and small cities have a similar behavior, and differ from the buyers of a big city among the attributes surveyed, in relation to the greater appreciation of inspection, tenderness and marbling, and less importance given to the expiration date. Beef buyers in all cities prefer meat cut by the butcher, even with the least practicality generated by this habit; however, this preference is higher in the small city. Future studies are necessary to better understand the reasons for the differences detected. Key words: Intrinsic cues; Extrinsic cues; beef buyer; consumer perceptions; city size


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