Factors influencing Kosher food purchase intention: An investigation on non-Jewish customers

Yang, Qian
Major Professor
Eunha Jeong
Robert Bosselman
Committee Member
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Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

Kosher food properly prepared according Jewish dietary law has become one of the biggest trends in the food service industry. The demand for Kosher food markedly increased in recent years, especially in non-Jewish community. To examine the intention of non-Jewish consumers in purchasing Kosher food, this study investigated underlying factors influencing a such behavior from three aspects, namely, consumers’ perceptions towards Kosher food, intrinsic motivations, and social environmental factors.

After a thorough literature review of potential factors, a pilot study of six structured one-on-one interviews were conducted to verify previously identified factors from the literature review and discover other potential factors for Kosher food consumption behavior. Based on the interview result, an online survey was developed and distributed to randomly selected non-Jewish consumers purchasing Kosher food in United States. A total of 203 usable data were collected through online survey questionnaire. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was applied to finalize the data.

Results showed 10 underlying factors that may influence the intention of non-Jewish customers to purchase Kosher food. Four underlying perceptions on Kosher food characteristics were found, which include Kosher food quality, healthfulness, Kosher food safety, and animal welfare. Four underlying intrinsic motivations were found, which include special dietary fulfillment, spiritual fulfillment, willingness to try different food, and willingness to support Kosher business. Two underlying social environmental factors were found, namely, availability of Kosher food and peer pressure.

The findings provided important theoretical implication by expanding the scope of factors influencing Kosher food purchase behavior in terms of consumers’ perception of Kosher food characteristic, intrinsic motivations to purchase Kosher food, and social environmental influences on Kosher food purchase. Furthermore, this study provided practical implication, which offered Kosher food companies opportunities to improve their market strategies, particularly targeting the non-Jewish community.