BS in Agricultural Business
This project was conducted to determine what type of content a consumer would like to see on a lettuce informational website and what will drive consumers to re-visit this informational website. A survey was used to collect the data for this project. The survey was self-administered online offered through Survey Monkey. The survey link was posted on a number of food forums, Facebook fan pages related to food, and Tanimura & Antle’s website.
The data described lettuce purchasing behavior, internet usage related to food and social networking, and demographics of potential lettuce informational website visitors. Statistical tests were used to compare responses from “target” and “non-target” groups. The target group was those who “regularly” or “sometimes” purchased at least two different lettuce varieties in the past six months. Responses from the two groups of survey respondents were fairly similar. Most respondents were female, at least 30 years old, living with a spouse or partner, with no children. A majority of the respondents were employed full time and had a college degree. The most popular social networking website used by respondents was Facebook, followed by YouTube. Bagged salad mixes and romaine were the most popular lettuce varieties purchased in the past six months; escarole and endive were the least purchased lettuce varieties.
A five-point Likert scale was used to rate the desirability of characteristics of a website’s format and structure and to rate the likelihood a characteristic of a website’s content would make him/her visit an informational lettuce website. The top characteristics of a website’s format and structure are: easy to navigate, has a search feature on the website to find items within the website, and updates content regularly. The target group rated “has a search feature on the website to find items within the website” and “easy to locate using a search engine website” as more desirable than the non-target. The top characteristics of a website’s content are: has recipes available, provides information about lettuce recalls, and has information about proper storage and handling. These content areas should be viewed as a starting point place for the website. The target group rated “provides lettuce photos” and “provides lettuce history” as more desirable than the non-target. Respondents also wrote that they would like to see nutritional and health information. The lettuce varieties to focus on would be romaine, spinach, and green leaf because they were the most commonly purchased. The website should have some social networking presence because ninety percent of respondents use a social networking website. A recommendation to consider is conducting another survey that is truly national in scope with a larger, more diverse sample. It would be a good idea to have a few mock informational websites for respondents to evaluate. Additional questions that could be asked are: number of hours worked per week, number of meals eaten at home and away from home in an average week, and number of times lettuce is consumed per week.