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Abstract

In sub-Saharan Africa, chicken meat is one of the important sources of protein and has great potential to enhance food security. The poultry sector, however, is challenged by rising imports, changing consumers’ preferences, and increasing costs of production. Preference for domestic chicken will depend largely on product characteristics and purchase motives, but also on how consumers’ perceive and judge domestic chicken in comparison to imported chicken. This study provides insight into how consumers in Ghana perceive chicken meat and whether these perceptions differ between domestic and imported chicken as well as the drivers of purchase. We conducted seven focus group discussions involving a total of 44 participants. Among the purchasing criteria, price is the most important factor in consumers’ decision-making process. Other factors include health/safety, convenience, taste, and freshness. Generally, consumers have strong beliefs toward domestic chicken as they perceive it to be fresher, tastier, healthier, and thus, better quality than imported chicken meat. Concerns about the use of growth hormones and antibiotics resulted in the low-quality perceptions of imported chicken meat. Nonetheless, imported chicken is seen as cheaper, convenient, and readily available. The results suggest that the higher price and inconvenience associated with domestic chicken may limit its future growth. Therefore, domestic producers must tailor their products to the characteristics that are important to consumers and build a marketing strategy that stresses more on good taste, freshness, and quality. Additionally, any policy aimed at the poultry industry should consider consumer concerns toward the safety, quality, and convenience of chicken.

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