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Consumers' use of quality characteristics to make milk purchase decisions reveal opportunities to create successful marketing strategies. Such a strategy could concern food quality. In this case, three core areas influence consumers' quality perception: the perception process, the physical product itself and the communication about it (Grunert et al., 1996). Beyond this background, this article analyzes the impact of certain quality characteristics and socio-demographics on consumption patterns regarding whole fat milk, skim milk and organic milk. These milks were chosen because of the increasing awareness of different fat contents in the meaning of lower fat contents being healthier and the increasing importance of the organic food market. Steenkamp's (1990) concept of 'perceived quality' provides as theoretical background. To gather the data a consumer survey with 260 households took place in Germany in 2004. An ordered logit model and a cluster analysis were used for analyzing the data. We find clear differences in consumers' perception of quality characteristics for the different milks. This information can be used to develop demand-oriented marketing activities (Kotler and Armstrong, 1994: 48).


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