CONSUMERS’ ACCEPTANCE OF PACKAGED FOOD PRODUCTS BY INDIGENOUS MANUFACTURERS IN ENUGU METROPOLIS
The study was specifically on consumers’ acceptance of Nigerian made and packaged food products in Enugu metropolis. Its major objectives are to determine how consumers (1) regard the promotional claims of Nigerian made and packaged food products; (2) judge their quality (3) assess their pricing (4) view their availability/distribution (5) compare them with imported/foreign made and packaged food products with the aforementioned(above) (6) verify/ascertain the belief of preference of foreign food products despite the close proximity of local manufacturers of same, and make recommendations for an improvement so as to lure consumers to accept Nigerian made and packaged food products. Though the data for this investigation were collected from two main sources; primary sources (questionnaire and oral interview) and secondary sources (books, pamphlets, newspapers, journals, etc), heavy reliance was placed on primary data due to its importance and reliability in research writing. The instruments for data collection were questionnaire, and oral interview used to further elicit more responses from the respondents. The questionnaires were distributed to 400 consumers in three selected retail outlets in Enugu metropolis. In all, a total of 381 questionnaires were made use of. The data obtained from the questionnaires were analysed, using a descriptive statistical tool of percentage, which were later validated by the use of Chi – square statistical test. It was discovered that Nigerian consumers do not readily accept Nigerian-made and packaged food products. Apart from the prices and availability (distribution) of Nigerian-made and packaged food products which they perceived as reasonable and efficient respectively, Nigerian consumers view their quality as poor/inferior, the advertisements and sales promotional claims as false, misleading, deceptive and/or exaggerated. Some useful recommendations were also made. They revolve mostly around improvement on product quality; packaging, honesty in promotions, moderate pricing, total customer/consumer satisfaction, and for the government to enforce absolute adherence on quality standard. It is believed that if put into practice, will go a long way in improving the activities of Nigerian food processors, food marketers, the Nigerian government and will be of invaluable importance to consumers/buyers of Nigerian-made and packaged food products and the public at large.