An evaluation of bread purchases from a management and consumer perspective : a case study of Albany Bakeries Gauteng.
Following the deregulation of the Baking Industry in South Africa, the baking industry has since then burgeoned into a highly competitive, cut-throat industry, where survival depends on market share. As a direct result of the government's deregulation of the Bread Industry, all bread producers were forced to review their business strategies and consumer relationships, in order to survive. With an industry characterised by low margins and the notoriously low levels of brand loyalty, the challenges facing industry players in terms of strategy implementation and consumer focus has necessitated a re-look at the way businesses in the Industry operate. This study examines the factors influencing consumer behaviour in respect of bread purchases at Albany Bakeries Gauteng, with the aim of getting a deeper understanding of the drivers, of such behaviour. The study also critically examines Albany Bakeries current strategy to determine if the strategy is best suited to ensure market growth and consumer satisfaction With no formal research having been done on this subject matter, the purpose of this study is to deepen understanding, of consumer behaviour and to provide Albany Bakeries with meaningful insights in this regard. The knowledge gained from this research will help Albany Bakeries make more informed decisions and to support key marketing decisions, going forward The primary objective of this study is to determine the factors influencing consumer behaviour in respect of bread purchases at Albany Bakeries Some of the secondary objectives of this study included the determination of the strategic priorities of Albany Bakeries in relation to keeping consumers satisfied, the determination the drivers of consumer behaviour in respect of bread purchases and the determination to ascertain whether Albany Bakeries was consumer centric. IV This research study is exploratory in nature, to gain insight into the research problem. An extensive investigation into the relevant literature was done. An empirical study was also conducted and the measuring instrument consisted of a self - administered questionnaire. The population selected consisted of bread consumers from the Germiston (East Rand), Pretoria, Randburg and the West Rand geographical areas. The major findings indicated that Albany Bakeries dominates the Gauteng bread market with its product differentiation strategy. The research results indicate that product freshness and taste are the category passport factors and the major influencing decisions when making a purchase. In a deceptively complex and cut throat industry, Albany's product innovation is a key success factor Other main conclusions were also drawn. Albany Bakeries was seen to be consumer centric, with an admirable high level of consumer satisfaction. It was, inter alia, recommended that Albany Bakeries create more brand awareness by increasing the familiarity of the brand through repeated consumer exposure. It is also recommended that Albany Bakeries implement a programme to measure customer satisfaction, on an ongoing basis and to have available a mechanism to translate what customers want into information that can be usable for managerial decision making purposes. Based on the findings, the research study concludes with various recommendations, which provide direction for future research.