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Understanding Consumer Preference for Coco Sugar Using Conjoint Analysis

Coconut sugar is a, pure, unrefined alternative to processed sugar and artificial sweeteners. It’s a natural
sugar made from coconut palm sap, which is the sugary circulating fluid of the coconut plant. It has been
used as a traditional sweetener since centuries, in coconut trees flourishing regions such as Southeast
Asia.

In Previous years increasing number of consumers are conscious for their daily regime that leads the
preference of the consumers towards healthy produced product. According to World Health Organization
(WHO) projected by 2015 and 2016, diabetic people will increase by 4-5%. In 2011, statistics revealed that
346 million people are diabetic worldwide. Since the Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener that may be
more expensive than regular granulated sugar, but it’s worth it since it yields some tremendous benefits
which perform just like ordinary sugar but has low glycemic index and retains nutrients found in the
coconut palm (DA) unlike to the regular table sugar which is high with fructose corn syrup and don't
contain any vital nutrients and therefore supply "empty" calories. For instance, coconut sugar is better for
diabetics and the gut than your normal, everyday sugar, and it holds trace amounts of vitamins and
minerals. Coconut sugar is made in a natural 2-step process. A cut is made on the flower of the coconut
palm and the liquid sap is collected into containers. The sap is placed under heat until most of the water
has evaporated. The end product is brown and granulated. Its color is similar to that of raw sugar, but the
particle size is typically smaller or more variable (Gunnar’s, 2018).

To produced high quality coconut sap sugar this minimum requirements must be followed. Physical
characteristics of a coco sugar is very essential. The color must light yellow or cream to dark brown and
has a sweet scent or pleasant nutty aroma.

The Philippines is consider the top producer of coconut sugar, 52% share of the world’s export closely
followed by Indonesia with 24% and Thailand with 3% of total world production of coconut sugar. In fact
the Philippine coconut product exports are one of the top 5 dollars earners for the country, average of
U.S. $760 M per year and contribute about 1.14% of the GNP and annual average of 5.9% contribution to
GVA (www.TheMediumAppReaders.com). But in the recent years the coconut industry is not given much
attention that leads both production and productivity of coconut are declining. In 2016, the coconut
production settled at 12.59 million metric tons, 15% lower than the 14.81 metric tons produced the
previous year (PCA). Aside from the usual weather problems, drought and typhoons, another cause of
lower production are that 15%-20% (about P52 M to P70 M) of the country’s 350 million coconut trees
are old.
In Bohol,PHILIPPINE COCONUT AUTHORITY(PCA) Manager Emiliano Romero shares a high hopes for the
coco-sugar since they have shifted their attention to coco-sugar to be able to help farmers earn more
from their coconuts. From the time when the world price for copra, a semi-processed coconut which is
still the country’s leading exported agricultural product, dropped from P31 to P29. A kilo of copra can
come from three or four coconuts and its processing to copra could even go high that selling it at P29 is a
losing proposition for small coconut farmers (Romero).Over this, and with the still huge need for
processing plants and large scale post-production technologies, the PCA now looks at the coco-sap as a
feasible alternative for high income especially for those harvesting coconut for tuba.

May 22, 2013, press release from the Mindanao Development Authority an agrarian reform community’s
coconut sugar products or more popularly known as “coco sugar” are already reaching the international
markets something that the LINABU Agrarian Multi-purpose Cooperatives (LAMPCO) never though would
happen in the near future. The cooperatives is aiming to close a bigger market positionas participate in
this year’s international Food exhibit (IFEX), the country’s largest gathering of international food
processors, exporters, producers, and buyers.And now they are currently producing at least ten tons per
month and increasing demand for healthy and organic sugar. LAMPCO coco sugar has an organic
certification from ECOCERT SA, is carbon neutral certified and FDA-approved (minda.gov.ph).

The importance of this study is to help the decision making of the consumers who will be the best
sweeteners used in the upcoming century. It will serve as guide which one is the best decision to invest
with. The significance of the study is to understand the consumer’s preference using the new alternative
sweetener which is the “coco sugar”. And what are the possible health benefits and advantages from this
alternative sugar.
Objectives of the study

The general objective of the study is to understand the consumer preference for coconut sugar specifically
it aims to:

 To determine the social demographic profile of the consumer preference for coconut sugar for
farmer and non-users.
 To assess the factors attributes in the acceptability of coconut sugar and which has the greatest
influence on consumer’s choice.

Method

Theoretical Framework

The choice and utility theory explains consumer behaviour base on the fundamental premise that people
choose those goods and services they value most. The notion of utility is used in describing the way
consumers choose among different consumption possibilities. (Camangyan, H.V, 2007)

In the theory of demand, people are assumed to maximize their utility. It means that they choose the
bundle of consumption goods that they most prefer. If we assume that consumers act rationally, this
means they will choose between different goods and services so as to maximize total utility. (Camangyan,
H.V, 2007)

Consumers will take into consideration:

How much satisfaction they get from buying and then consuming an extra unit of good or services

The price that they have to pay to make this purchase

• The satisfaction derived from consuming alternative products

• The price of alternative goods and services


Statistical method

This study was divided with two phases. Phase 1 to determine the socio demographic profile of the
respondents. While phase II is to determine the respondent’s preference to GCTCV 218, 219 or Grand
Nain Variety using conjoint analysis. (Camangyan, H.V, 2007)

Phase I- Profiling of respondents

Descriptive statistics are used to determine the socio-demographic profile of the respondents for both
the users and non-users of resistance variety. The mean, standard deviation, maximum and minimum
values obtain. (Camangyan, H.V, 2007)

Phase II-Consumer’s Preference

Conjoint analysis is multivariate technique that commonly used to measure preferences among
competitive products and services. It has two objectives: (1) to determine the contributions of predictor
variables and their respective values to the determination of consumer’s preferences: and (2) to establish
a valid model of consumers judgements useful in predicting the consumer’s acceptance of any
combination of attributes. (Camangyan, H.V, 2007)

Definition of Variables

Age- 20 years old, 32 years old, 46 years old, 50 years old

Income- Pesos/monthly

Educational attainment- Graduate, undergrad, high school level, elementary level

Number of agricultural trainings- 2 trainings, 3 trainings, 4 trainings

Attributes in Conjoint Analysis

Preferences- glycemic index

Price- pesos per kg/pack

Granules-refined or multi-purpose
Container and Packaging- well packed and detailed

Application Rate- small amount or large amount