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Ready meals from the consumers' perspective: attitudes, beliefs, contexts and appropriateness
Örebro University, Department of Restaurant & Culinary Arts.
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis was to gain a deeper understanding of ready meal consumers and their demands regarding ready meal products in different situations. Data were gathered with one extensive postal survey and five focus group discussions. The aim of the survey was to investigate the beliefs held about ready meal consumers, identify typical ready meal situations, assess the aims of eating ready meals in these meal situations and, finally, to identify demands regarding ready meals in the purchase situation. The results of the survey showed that the image of the frequent ready meal consumer was a person alone and stressed. The ready meal-consuming respondents confirmed this image when they were in actual situations eating ready meals but not in general. Four common ready meal-eating situations were identified. Ready meals were eaten most frequently as lunch at work and dinner at home. The social context in these situations was found to differ and to affect the activities performed. Ready meals for lunch at work were commonly eaten with colleagues and then discussing was a normal activity. For dinner at home ready meals were usually eaten alone watching TV. The reasons why ready meals were chosen as meal solutions differed. Ready meals suitable for lunch at work should be time-saving and for dinner at home the main demand was that the products should be convenient in order to avoid cooking. Purchaser demands regarding ready meals were found to be influenced by the gender of the purchaser and the intended end-consumer. Female ready meal purchasers were more demanding buyers than males, especially concerning health aspects. The aim of the focus groups was to explore consumers' reasons regarding the choice of ready meals for dinner and to find out how ready meals suit their needs. Ready meals were not regarded as being very appropriate for dinner at home. The social setting of the dinner was one of the most important aspects affecting the choice of what to eat. For ready meals to be suitable for dinner use they should be dishes out of the ordinary with more taste. This thesis has demonstrated that the context of meals affects the entire ready meal choice process and that there is a need to broaden the research perspective beyond the meal. The entire food provisioning process needs to be taken into account.

Abstract [sv]

Målet med denna avhandling var att generera en större kunskap om färdigmatskonsumenter och deras krav på färdigmat i olika situationer. För att kunna göra detta genomfördes en omfattande postal enkät och fem fokusgrupper.

Syftet med enkäten var att kartlägga existerande attityder till färdigmatskonsumenter, identifiera typiska färdigmatssituationer, undersöka skälen till att äta färdigmat i dessa situationer samt slutligen identifiera vad som är avgörande för inköpet av färdigmat. Resultaten av enkäten visade att bilden av en färdigmatskonsument var en ensam och tidspressad person. Bilden bekräftades av de färdigmatsätande respondenterna men stämde enbart i färdigmatssituationen som sådan. Fyra typiska färdigmatssituationer identifierades. Mest frekvent åt respondenterna färdigmat till lunch på arbetet och till middag hemma. Den sociala kontexten skilde sig åt i dessa situationer och visade sig påverka vilka aktiviteter som pågick under måltiden. Färdigmat till lunch på arbetet åts vanligen med kollegor och då diskuterade man oftast. Vid middagen hemma åts färdigmat oftast ensam framför TV:n. Motiven till att välja färdigmat skilde sig åt i olika situationer. För en lunch på arbetet var det viktigast att färdigmaten var tidsbesparande men för en middag hemma var det främst bekvämlighetsaspekten, i form av att slippa laga mat, som avgjorde. I inköpssituationen visade det sig att olika aspekter var olika viktiga för inköpet av färdigmat beroende på inköparens kön och om inköparen var den som skulle äta färdigmaten. Generellt var kvinnliga färdigmatsinköpare mer krävande, i synnerhet gällande hälsorelaterade aspekter. När färdigmat köptes åt någon annan så var det signifikant viktigare att det var lätt att öppna förpackningen samt att maten skulle vara lik den mat som den personen brukade äta.

Målet med fokusgrupperna var att utforska konsumenternas resonemang kring valet av färdigmat till middag och komma fram till hur färdigmat passade deras behov. Slutsatsen var att utformningen av en middag hemma var mycket beroende av den sociala kontexten, dvs. vem som skulle äta. Framför allt närvaron av barn var viktig för de val som gjordes inför middagen. Färdigmat ansågs inte passa särskilt bra till en social middag hemma. Ett färdigmatssortiment anpassat för middag föreslogs inbegripa mer speciella rätter med mer smak.

Den här avhandlingen har visat på att måltidskontexten påverkar hela valprocessen av färdigmat och att det därför finns ett behov av att bredda forskningsperspektivet bortom maten i sig och även bortom måltiden. Hela processen, från planeringsstadiet till omhändertagandet av disk och avfall, måste tas i beaktande.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitetsbibliotek , 2007. , 92 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Culinary Arts and Meal Science, ISSN 1652-2974 ; 6
Keyword [en]
attitude, consumer, context, food choice, meal, ready meal, situation
Keyword [sv]
attityd, färdigmat, konsument, kontext, matval, måltid, situation
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Culinary Arts and Meal Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-1520ISBN: 978-91-7668-560-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-1520DiVA: diva2:135129
Public defence
2007-11-23, Gastronomiska teatern, Måltidens hus, Sörälgsvägen 2, Grythyttan, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-11-02 Created: 2007-11-02 Last updated: 2011-05-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Attitudes and beliefs directed towards ready-meal consumption
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Attitudes and beliefs directed towards ready-meal consumption
2004 (English)In: Food Service Technology, ISSN 1471-5732, E-ISSN 1471-5740, Vol. 4, no 4, 159-169 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Our food choice is dependent upon our beliefs about both the products and those who consume them. In this study beliefs about the prototypical attributes of ready meal consumers have been investigated to establish which beliefs exist and whether they have any actual basis when compared with self-reported behaviours of ready meal consumers. In a survey, respondents described what they considered to be common attributes of ready meal consumers. Some of these attributes were supported by the data provided by the ready meal consuming respondents, while many were not. Most interesting was the fact that two frequently mentioned attributes, being alone and no interest in cooking or food, were confirmed by the ready meal consuming respondents in the actual eating situation but not by their life-style and beliefs in general. The results support the call for more situation-oriented food research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Blackwell Science, 2004
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Culinary Arts and Meal Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-2847 (URN)10.1111/j.1471-5740.2004.00102.x (DOI)
Available from: 2007-11-02 Created: 2007-11-02 Last updated: 2016-09-23Bibliographically approved
2. The impact of the meal situation on the consumption of ready meals
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The impact of the meal situation on the consumption of ready meals
2005 (English)In: International Journal of Consumer Studies, ISSN 1470-6423, E-ISSN 1470-6431, Vol. 29, no 6, 485-492 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The context in which a meal is eaten is known to affect intake and choice of food. The purpose of this study was to investigate in what typical situations ready meals are consumed and if consumer demands vary according to different situations. With a market survey four typical ready meal eating situations were identified, and the respondent's ready meal consumption was shown to be affected by situational factors. In the different eating situations there were dissimilar reasons for consumption. Two ready meal eating situations were investigated in greater detail in order to establish what triggered the ready meal consumption in these situations. One of these meal situations proved to be convenience driven and the other time driven. A situation-oriented approach is suggested for further ready meal product development.

Research subject
Culinary Arts and Meal Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-2848 (URN)10.1111/j.1470-6431.2005.00416.x (DOI)
Available from: 2007-11-02 Created: 2007-11-02 Last updated: 2016-10-18Bibliographically approved
3. Buyers’ demands for ready meals: influenced by gender and who will eat them
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Buyers’ demands for ready meals: influenced by gender and who will eat them
2006 (English)In: Journal of Foodservice, Vol. 17, no 5-6, 205-211 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The ready-meal market in Sweden is increasing rapidly, and in the last 10 years has nearly doubled. The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of the demand buyers have for ready meals, both when buying for themselves and for others. A postal survey was completed by 249 residents of Gothenburg, Sweden. Results show that the demand when buying ready meals is dependent on both gender and whether or not the buyer is the end consumer. In general, the buyers' demands for sensory and convenience aspects were the most important. Female respondents were more demanding buyers than males, and their priorities were different. The implications of the findings are that foodservice operators and producers of ready meals must pay attention to the different demands of buyers, their gender and who will be the end consumer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Culinary Arts and Meal Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-2849 (URN)10.1111/j.1745-4506.2006.00038.x (DOI)
Available from: 2007-11-02 Created: 2007-11-02 Last updated: 2016-09-23Bibliographically approved
4. The appropriateness of ready meals for dinner
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The appropriateness of ready meals for dinner
2007 (English)In: Journal of Foodservice, ISSN 1748-0140, Vol. 18, no 6, 238-250 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Different meal contexts call for different meal solutions. With the aim of understanding how people reason when choosing what to eat for dinner and how ready meal solutions fit their demands in this meal situation, a focus group study was conducted. Although there is an image of the ideal dinner as being cooked and eaten together with the family, this often conflicts with reality and scarcity of time. The social setting was shown to be of utmost importance in the choice of cooking, place to eat and actual meal. Suggestions were given on how to improve the appropriateness of ready meals for consumption at dinner

National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Culinary Arts and Meal Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-2850 (URN)10.1111/j.1745-4506.2007.00070.x (DOI)
Available from: 2007-11-02 Created: 2007-11-02 Last updated: 2011-05-19Bibliographically approved

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