The Problem: The importance of country of origin as a cue for Irish consumers in their purchase decisions for apples, tomatoes and pork meat. A possible scenario could be that consumers tend to pay less attention to cues such as Country of Origin (COO) for low engagement products, such as food products, once the purchase decision is of minor relevance. In other to investigate this issue, this investigation applied a survey based on different products attributes such as, price, quality symbol, safety, freshness, purchase involvement, packaging and buying domestic products. The Irish consumers patriotism level is also investigate as a possible factor that influences consumers to consider country of origin as an important attribute in their everyday food purchase decisions.
Methodology: Irish consumer sample size was a total of 412 respondents which constituted 285 females and 127 males. The research was conducted using a cross-sectional quantitative consumers’ survey.
Conclusions and Recommendations: COO was found to be a relatively unimportant cue when compared to price for consumers when choosing tomatoes, apples and pork meat. The present study suggests that consumers may be more concerned about where their pork meat comes from than about the origin of fruit and vegetables. The study found that the level of patriotism has a significant positive relationship with COO, suggesting that consumers’ ethnocentrism is a strong and significant factor to predict consumers’ purchase decision related, mainly, to pork meat. Freshness was considered the most important cue when buying tomatoes/ apples and even more important when buying pork meat by 80.10% of the respondents. These findings have implications for local producers and retailers who may gain a competitive advantage by stating that their products are fresh, rather than only focusing on country of origin labelling on their produce. This investigation’s recommended actions were (1) further research to investigate more deeply into the relation between patriotism and the importance of country of origin and also includes other variables (behavioural, psychographic, attitudinal), (2) new study should focus on qualitative (face to face) interviews for a better understanding of the influences behind consumers choices when buying food produce, (3) future research should also investigate the relevance of food COO to consumers in other markets that are relatively similar to the Irish market, and countries that import a large share of the food consumed domestically. Author Keywords: Country of Origin , COO, labeling attributes, patriotism