The main objective of this paper is to provide guidance to the setting of innovative strategies for the effective exploitation of high quality food products. These strategies should be capable to respond to the new needs of consumers through the integration of environmental, social and territorial aspects of quality. In this regard the current work, focusing on the case of water buffalo meat, performs an analysis of the supply chain of water buffalo meat in Campania, and presents a critical review of the promotional and communication activities implemented since now, both by public and private entities, trying to understand success factors and development limits. Subsequently, through deep interviews to producers and retailers further details have been collected and evaluated. Moreover, a survey on 180 consumers residents in the Provinces of Naples, Avellino and Benevento, responsible of food shopping, has been performed with the aim of obtaining useful information to implement effective marketing strategies. Data were subjected to exploratory analysis, to provide a generic profile of the water buffalo meat consumer, and subsequently to cluster analysis to create homogeneous groups of consumers and identify the segments most interested to the product. Three different clusters were recognized: the first cluster (60% of respondents), was characterized by consumers that have never tried the product and are also completely uninformed on its properties and characteristics; the second cluster (14% of respondents) includes aware consumers, i.e. those who show a greater knowledge of the product and a higher frequency of consumption; the third cluster (26% of respondents) groups the occasional users, i.e. those who bought water buffalo meat only once or very sporadically and who define themselves as poorly informed on the product. Results highlight the need to activate effective communication strategies to foster the perception of the actual quality of the product, emphasizing its nutritional properties and health benefits in order to retain the occasional consumers and promoting its sensory characteristics to attract new consumers.
Keywords: Water buffalo meat, consumers, Campania Region, cluster analysis
Jel Code: C10, Q13, Q56