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The contemporary business world has become very competitive and innovations are being made by business in their attempt to attain a competitive advantage. Globalization and movement of people from one country to another have also led to diversity in terms of culture and background of various societies in the world. The concept of customer orientation has become important for business to survive in such an environment. Identifying customers needs and satisfying them satisfactory than competitors is therefore indispensable. Businesses are nowadays operating in environment where different communities are coexisting due to globalization and liberalization of many economies. A market may constitute of people from different countries say China, England, Germany, Saudi Arabia and South Africa and so on. This people may also be from different religion such as Islamic, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism and so on, which have different religious teachings altogether. (Kunin2003:Allen 2002; Hutchings 2003).
Diversity in consumers needs is influenced by various factors such as religion, culture and believes tastes and preferences, income levels, fashion and so on. Culture and religion plays a big role in determining customers’ tastes and preference. This also affects the consumers choice and business environment at large. Food industry is one of the industries which are influenced by culture and religious believes. For instance, Muslims adheres to dietary laws which direct them on which food to eat and not to eat. Allowed foods are usually referred to as ‘Halal’. Muslim faith also forbids certain foods which are normally known as ‘Haram’. Muslim religion also considers some food as questionable, usually referred to as ‘Mashbooh’. Certain food such as pork products, and meat improperly slaughtered or slaughtered in other name apart from Allah name are referred to as Haram. Meat from dog, pig, donkey, monkeys, carnivores, cats, frogs, lions, turtles, crocodiles, flies, worms, cockroaches, eagles and owls are prohibited in Islam faith. Alcohol, tea, coffee, and other drugs are also considered as Haram. Muslim teachings also consider any Halal food as Haram if it comes into contact with Haram food. These teaching are also comparable to teaching by Jewish religion. (Minnesota State Unity 2010; Khadim 1996).
Buddhism religion prohibit intentional killing of animals. This religion also discourages eating of meat whose source usually involves killing of animals. Buddhism prohibits activities such as hunting, butchering, steaming live dams. For instance, a Buddhist should not order a fresh steamed lobster from the restaurant. Thus, products arising from these activities are likely to influence Buddhists’ consumption habit. Some Christians are also against consumption of certain foods and drinks such as meat from dog, pig, donkey, monkeys, carnivores, cats, frogs, lions, turtles, crocodiles, flies, worms, cockroaches, eagles, owls, alcohol, tea, coffee as instructed by the Bible (spiritual book which Christianity rules and believes are derived from). Apart from this religions, there exist other religions which also have different believes and rules as far as diet is concerned. There is a need to understand this believes and their influence on business. There also exists other cultural practices apart from religious believes whose greatly impact demand in food industry. Some communities have different dietary customs which they consider as the way to go about it. (Counihan & Esterik 2008; Bullitt 2010).
1.1.2 The Constituent of Religion
Religion has a long history and can be traced back to beginning of human existence. It is old as human kind. Different religion has different stories about their beliefs, laws and rules. This beliefs, rule and laws are taught to children and passed over to the next generation. Every religion is set up is different from the other but almost all religions have some common aspects/ constituents. The aspects of religion includes: divinity which include all beliefs and knowledge regarding the spirits and universe: ethics which are mainly constitute set of principles to morality, religious rituals prayers and obligations: theology or social laws. Divinity is the most fundamental part of religion. This part of religion explains how universe and its components came to exist. This includes creation teachings, life after death and so on. It also gives light on belief on spirits existences and life continuation. This aspect also offer more light about plan and intention of creation. Many religions have that the world was created by a supreme being who has all authority over the universe and human kind. Existence of spirits and life continuations is also part of many religions. Ethical laws are also an important part of religion. Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians base their ethics on laws derived from their religious teachings. Such ethics are also called religious morality and greatly influence those who subscribe to these religions. Rules about how to relate with other human beings, animal and plants, eating habits and so on are directed by this constituent. These ethics are a crucial part of their life which should be observed as they seek to please the Supreme Being or Spirits believed to have the power to bless or punish them in accordance to their actions. The last constituent of religion is social laws. This offers guide on how one should relate with other human humans. It in such laws, guidelines about helping the poor, loving and being kind to others are usually written and emphasized. These rules are directly derived from religious books which are believed to have been written by people who were influenced by Supreme Being or spirit. Thus, to those who subscribe to the any of religion, this is very important for present and future life. It is part of them and will strive not do anything repugnant to the teachings. (Bullitt 2010; Kunin 2003; Counihan & Esterik 2008).
1.1.3 Muslim Society in the U.K.
Muslim Society in the UK has continued to increase in number and the part Muslims play in the economy is enormous. Islamic society of Britain is an organization that was formed to bring together all Muslims in UK, to work as a one people for welfare of all Muslims and all people of Britain at large. The enormous and wide spread Muslim society therefore has a big effect on the Britain economy. Food industry is one of the industries which have greatly been influenced by growth of Muslim society in UK. Various food businesses have been set to offer food acceptable to this society i.e. Halal. Halal food has become part of various food offered by various food and drinks businesses. Management to such business has been influenced by Muslim dietary faith and business objectives to meet their target customers’ needs satisfactory. Activities carried out by Islamic Society of Britain have also continued to increase. This society has continued to encourage mutual integration of Muslims and other larger Britain population. Today, Muslims are almost every where in Britain; in universities, urban areas, colleges, and involving themselves in various business activities and investments. They are part of the UK community. Their demand in food industry can no longer be overlooked and offers a great opportunity to entrepreneurs who perceive it. Muslim society in Britain has grown in terms of political social and economic spheres. They are involved in political activities, represented in House of Commons and House of Lords. They run and own number of businesses. Their presence in UK is evident and form part of key economic agents. Such a society has a great impact on all industry where food industry is not exceptional. (Islamic Society of Britain 2010; Esposito & Burgat 2003; Kwok etal 2005).
1.2 Research Question.
Religion as part of culture greatly influences decision making process both individually and collectively. Thus, the need to understand how religious teachings influences decision making process of the consumer is very imperative. On this note, this dissertation, major research question is to find out how religion influences consumer’s decision in food industry.
1.3 Research Focus
The major aim of this dissertation is examine the influence of culture on consumer’s decision in food industry and to what extend these factors have made a change in the chosen industry’s marketing strategy. Religion influence on consumers’ decision process will be part of main concern of this dissertation. Its effect on food industry will be emphasized. Such findings will then help in focusing on impact these factors on marketing strategy for food industry as a both reactive and proactive measure to the influence of culture on consumer’s decision making process.
1.3. 2 Objectives
To examine consumer behaviours towards the food industry
To identify factors that influence Muslims consumers’ behaviour toward food in the UK.
H1: Behavioural beliefs and attitudes towards behaviour influences consumer behaviour towards food industry.
H0: behavioural beliefs and attitudes towards behaviour do not influence consumer behaviour towards food industry.
H2: Religious teachings and beliefs influences Muslims consumer’s decision behaviour toward food in the UK.
H0: Religious teachings and beliefs do not influence Muslims consumers’ decision behaviour toward food in the UK.