Consumer is the largest economic group and central point of all marketing activities. With the rise in the income of people, the quality, the quantity and the sophistication of the consumer goods has also increased. The market is literally overflowing with the new products based on intricate technology. It is very difficult for the consumer to select one food item because of misleading advertisements, improper media emphasis and food adulteration. As a result of these malpractices, the ultimate victim is a consumer, who innocently takes adulterated foods and suffers.
Consumer behavior appears static in general which is in the need of its entire conversion to dynamic. The behavior process involves some or all of the following steps (Fig. 1).
A good buying behavior reflects philosophy about the nature of consumer and
provides a logical means of organizing the vast quantity of information on variables
that influence the buying practices. Buying practices involves the determination
by market agencies of kind, qualities and quantities of goods desired by consumer.
Buyer has to find out the desired qualities of goods sold at satisfactory prices.
Buying consumes a great deal of time, energy and money. Effective buying requires
a specialized knowledge of content of goods, their resources and their use.(Kotler,
1990) Consumers have no choice except to face a wider variety of buying situations
than in the past, one result is that there has been and will continue to be
an increase in the number of consumer problems and disputes particularly involving
consumer rights and legal protection.
of Buying Behavior
To meet these challenges successfully Consumers must arm themselves against
these problems since they are not automatically protected by the working of
the market. Therefore, a consumers best defense is knowledge of his/her
rights as a consumer and of the remedies which exist to resolve these problems
when they occur. Knowledge and awareness about adulterated foods, laws
and its rights related to adulterated food is crucial in a society where technology
heightens opportunities for perpetrators of fraud deception and misrepresentation
(Garman and Jonest, 1992).
Adulteration may be intentional or unintentional. The former is a willful act on the part of adulterator who intended to increase the margin of profit. On the other hand, adulteration may be incidental contamination, which is usually due to ignorance, negligence or lack of proper facilities.
Adulteration is defined as the process by which the quality or the nature of a given substance is reduced through:
addition of a foreign or an inferior substance e.g. addition of water
removal of vital vitamins, e.g. removal of fat from milk". (Mudambi and
The causes of adulteration may be:
of too many products in the market
buying practices of consumers.
mentality of bargaining,
It is true that, adulteration primarily thrives in a period of shortages. The
consumers real income is falling due to rising prices of even essential
commodities. Psychologically, consumers pay less attention to the quality of
products during this period. He/she is facing disadvantages in the form of adulteration.
Now a day, Adulteration is health menace.Thus, food adulteration
takes many forms: mixing, substitution, abstraction, concealing the quality
sale of decomposed foods and using false labels. The pity is that the so-called
modernization has brought with it, the evils of adulteration.
Somehow, the Indian consumer has become accustomed to live with adulteration. Even educated consumers do not pay attention to the menace of adulteration. (Sundaram, 1985).
Many of the spices, ready to eat ground masalas and commonly used products are found contaminated/adulterated. The adulteration problem in India has attained massive dimensions.
Types of adulteration:
There are three types of adulteration namely:
|| Intentional adulterants: Intentional adulterants are
sand, marble chips, stone, mud, chalk powder, water, mineral oil and coal
tar dyes. This adulteration cause harmful effects on the body.
||Metallic contamination: Metallic contaminations include
arsenic from pesticides, lead from water, and mercury from effluents of
chemical industries, tin from cans etc.
||Incidental adulterants: Incidental adulterants are
pesticide residues, tin from can droppings of rodents, larvae in foods.
Metallic contamination with arsenic lead, mercury can also occur incidentally.
Pests such as rodents and insects intrude into the food at high degree and
produce filth in the form of excreta, bodily secretions and spoilage through
micro organisms. The most common incidental adulterants are pesticides,
D.D.T and marathon residues present on the plant product. The maximum permissible
residue allowed for D.D.T, marathon is 3 ppm.
Chemical like D.D.T are absorbed by the small intestine when ingested. The
toxins usually pile up in the fatty tissues of such vital organs as the thyroid,
heart, kidney, liver, mammary gland and damage these organs. They can be transferred
from the umbilical cord/ blood to the growing foetus and through breast milk
in children, the disease apart from crippling them inhibits their growth (Table
The studies conducted by Nimkar (1976); Pande (2000) reveals that homemakers were the actual buyers for the food in the family. Home makers took independent decision in all the areas of food buying except financial aspect. Availability of money resource and availability of the product in the market were the most important factors, whereas food habit and nutritional requirements were the least important factors while buying a product. On the other hand low income group home makers preferred rationing store, and independent store for the groceries and miscellaneous items. For the selection of stores low income group home maker gave more importance to credit facilities, lowest price and location of the store. Majority of the home makers from low income group collected all information from friends and neighbors. Among home makers retail shops were more used than wholesale shops for purchasing grains, monthly purchasing was most common among the employed and unemployed homemakers for grains and grocery.
Roday (2002) tested food samples examined at various Public Health Laboratories in the state of Maharashtra during the year 1993. He found that in small cities like Jalgoan, Nanded and Jalna the percentage of adulteration is very high compared to bigger cites viz. Nagpur, Pune, Amaravati, Solapur etc.
Subedi (2001) has recorded a marked rise in case of major food and beverages adulteration in Nepal. The published report summarized a substantial rise in adulteration of mustard and rapeseed oil with Argemone Mexicana.
According to lab test conducted by Food Technology and Quality Control Department, over 66 percent of the samples were found contaminated. Out of 149 mustard rapeseed samples, 98 of them were contaminated with Argemone Mexicana. Similarly, 44 percent of the black pulses were found adulterated with coal tar and inedible mix. Last year the adulterated figure was only 12.5%.
The report has also said that 40% of ghee in the market was contaminated with vegetable fat and high concentration of fatty acids, while 27% of vegetable ghee in the market was contaminated due to the use of low quality raw materials. Like wise 54.5% samples of papad were also found adulterated.
The review thus reveals that the researches on enhancing awareness of consumers
related to adulteration and its detection are sporadic. Although efforts have
been made to detect the percentage of food adulteration in number of cities
big and small, none of the study deal with knowledge and awareness of women
(homemaker) about food adulteration. That is why investigator found it necessary
to generate awareness among the homemakers about the existing food adulteration
practices of the retailers and manufacturers and equip them with simple household
test for detecting adulteration.
Hazards of Adulteration
|Source-YOJANA, April 16, 1980, page 16 "Government of India"
Objectives of the study:
identify popularly used brands of selected food products by the homemakers.
study buying practices of homemakers related to selected food products.
measure the extent of awareness related to food adulteration among selected
group of homemakers.
measure the relationship between extent of awareness of the homemakers
related to food adulteration and their age, income and education.
measure the adulteration in selected food products through standard lab
METRIALS AND METHODS
In the present study questionnaire was prepared in four parts:
information of the respondents;
Buying practices of the homemakers;
scale on food adulteration;
The awareness scale was prepared with items or statements which are based on factual information related to consumers responsibilities and food adulteration. While preparing the scale, care was taken to include all such questions that would elicit the information needed to attain the objectives of the study.
To establish the validity and difficulty index of the awareness scale a panel of judges from five faculties (Faculty of Education, Master of Business Management, Business Studies Department, Economics, Home Science Department) were selected and requested to check the clarity and correctness of each statement. The reliability of awareness scale was 0.67. All the items that had validity index of 0.20 or more and difficulty index between 0.30 and 0.70 were included in final scale. The final scale consisted of 33 items.
Out of 281 families in Mahadev area 60 families were selected from the sample population on the basis of stratified systematic sampling technique. The questionnaire was filled up; the data were then processed, tabulated and analyzed. The data were analyzed employing descriptive as well as rational statistics. In this, rational statistics such as correlation, student-t test were computed; on the basis of that test null hypothesis was accepted or rejected.
To fulfill the objective of testing the popularly used brands, the standard lab testing procedures were carried out for selected spices and flours. Three qualities of selected food products were taken i.e. standard (Branded), sub-standard (packed but not branded) and loosely available. Selection was done after identifying the popularly used brands by the respondents. The lab-tested results were matched for the amount of adulteration and results were briefed on the absence/presence of adulterant in food products.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Background information: The result revealed that from the selected sample
size one-third of respondents were less than or equal to thirty years of age,
while half of the respondents were between 31 to 50 years of age group, 28%
of respondents were educated up to higher secondary. In the present study majority
of the respondents i.e., 70% were homemakers, while self employed and professionals
were very less i.e., almost 2% each.
Major decisions for purchasing food: The result disclosed that, in 45% of families, the home maker took the major decisions for purchasing food for their families, where as 16.67% of families were dependent on the decisions made by the husband, one forth of the families under study took the decisions jointly (husband and wife) and in only very few families, decisions were taken up by their in laws.
Buying practices of the homemakers: The present study was carried out on sixty respondents. The buying practices includes the type of packaging used while purchasing, brand choice, shop choice and purchase frequency of the selected items undertaken for study.
Distribution of the Respondents with respect to their Extent
of Awareness regarding Rights and Responsibilities related to food quality
of the Respondents with respect to their Extent of Awareness regarding
Types of packaging: The results depicted that nearly 38 percent of the respondents were using chilly powder, coriander power, turmeric power and besan in packed form, where as only 2% bought packed sindhav. Half of the respondents purchase suji in packed form.
Nearly half of the sample respondents used loose flours of singoda, moriya, rajagara and bajara. Very few, that is, 10% of the respondents purchased asafotedia, besan, salt, rice flour in loose form. Wheat is bought by 83.33% of the respondents in whole form followed by rice and bajara that is 68.33 and 50% respectively. Only one-forth of the respondents purchased turmeric, coriander and garam masala in whole form. It is interesting to note that, nearly half of the respondents were not using sindhav, sanchal, handwa flour, moriya flour and singoda flour.
Preference of brand: When the distribution of the respondents with respect to their use of brands while purchasing spices was done, the result showed that 40% respondents used Ramdev brand, where as one-sixth of the respondents used Gaytri and Parth brand. Very few of them used Everest, Balaji and Badshah brand of food items selected for the present study (Fig. 2).
Purchase frequency: With respect to purchase frequency, the facts discovered through survey revealed that half of the respondents purchased singoda flour, moriya flour and bajara flour on monthly basis. More then half of the respondents purchased whole wheat and rice yearly, while very few respondents purchased flours and spices weekly or fortnightly (Fig. 3).
Shop used: The result revealed that the most popular type of shop used
by the respondents under study for spices and flour was a general kiryana store
where as only 5% of the respondents purchased spices from small scale industries
of brand for selected spices
frequency of selected spices and flours
Consumer awareness: Regarding consumer awareness the result depicted
that majority, that is, two-third of the respondents were moderately aware about
their rights and responsibilities related to food quality and food adulteration.
The aggregate mean item score regarding consumer rights and responsibilities
was found to be 1.687 which shows a shift towards high awareness (Table
2). The aggregate mean item score was found to be 1.543 regarding food adulteration
which shows on an average the respondents were moderately aware regarding adulteration
of food (Table 3).
Food adulteration problem faced: The result depicted that little less than half of the respondents have sometimes or other faced problem of adulterated food, one-fifth of the respondents have never come across adulterated food or may be they were not aware about adulterated food.
Testing of hypothesis: In this, rational statistics such as correlation, student-t test were computed, on the basis of the above test, null hypothesis was accepted or rejected.
of Correlation for Five Variables including Extent of Awareness
|**Significant at 0.01 level *Significant at 0.05 level
of Age on Extent of Awareness
|**Significant at 0.01 level *Significant 0.05 level
HOA: There exist no relationship between extent of awareness of
the respondents and their personal and family variables.
HOA2: Educational level
HOA3: Family income,
HOA1: There exist no relationship between extent of awareness of
the respondents related to food adulteration and their age.
Product moment correlation was computed between extent of awareness of the respondents and their age, which revealed no significant relationship either at 0.01 level or at 0.05 level of significance (Table 4). Thus, null hypothesis was not rejected.
Age had no influence on the extent of awareness of the respondents, whether
he/she was young, middle or old age (Table 5). Age was found
negatively correlated with education (r-0.31) and highly positively correlated
with family income (r = 0.35**). It was also found that respondents
of old age group were less educated and vice versa. The result also revealed
that homemaker of older group had higher family income. So probably age has
indirect influence on the extent of awareness of the respondents. The result
of studies carried out by Garman and Jonest (1992) and Dhyani and Saklani (1994)
revealed similar results as that of the present study that is the age was not
found to influence the extent of awareness of the respondents as a consumer.
HOA2: There exist no relationship between extent of awareness of the respondents related to food adulteration and their education.
Product moment correlation was computed between extent of awareness of the
respondents and their educational level which revealed highly positive relationship
significant at 0.01 level and at 0.05 level of significance. (Table
used by respondents for purchasing selected spices and flours
of Education on Extent of Awareness
|**Significant at 0.01 level, *Significant at 0.05 level
of Family Income on Extent of Awareness
|**Significant at 0.01 level, *Significant at 0.05 level
To find out if there exist any significant difference in the extent of awareness
among illiterate, having higher secondary education or with college education
respondents, t-test was computed. The result revealed that there exists no significant
difference between extent of awareness of the respondents who were illiterate
and respondent with secondary educations, significant difference existed between
extent of awareness of the respondents with secondary education and college
education and college education and illiterate. (Table 6)
Thus, null hypothesis was rejected.
||Absence or Presence of Adulterationin Selected Food Products
Education highly influences the extent of awareness of the respondents. Higher educational level reveals higher extent of awareness.
It was also found positively correlated with family income (r = 0.40**). In other words respondents of higher education were found to have higher family income and also when educational level increased, respondents have more resources at their disposal thus, exposure also increased, which effected the awareness of the respondents. The results of the study carried out by Dhyani Saklani (1994), were similar to the present study which states that education and family income were found strongly associated with consumer awareness.
HOA3: There exist no relationship between extent of awareness of the respondents related to food adulteration and their family income.
Product moment correlation was computed between extent of awareness of the
respondents and their family income which revealed highly positive relationship
significant at 0.01 level and at 0.05 level (Table 4).
To find out if there exist any significant difference in the extent of awareness
of the respondents which were from lower income, middle income and higher income
t-value was computed (Table 7). The result revealed that there
exist no significant difference in the extent of awareness of the respondents
with lower family income and middle family income and middle family income and
higher family income, but there is highly significant difference in the extent
of awareness of the respondents with lower family income and higher family income
of the respondents. Thus, null hypothesis was rejected.
Family income highly influences the extent of awareness of the respondents. Higher the family income, higher the extent of awareness. Family income was highly positively correlated with age (0.35**) and education (0.40**). It was found that respondents of higher family income have more resources at their disposal which in turns may lead to higher purchase frequency leading to more market experience and also more exposure to magazine and newspapers which often carry information for consumers which in turn may effect the awareness of the respondents.
Experimental method: The result revealed that Ramdev asafoetida (standard)
was found to be adulterated with resins. Substandard product like Apex-chilly
powder and Annapurna asafoetida were adulterated with oil soluble coaltar dyes
and starch respectively. Apex chilly powder was found dark in colour compared
to other two samples, moisture content was also found more (plate no-2) than
the other two sample. Loose-1 coriander powder and loose-1 turmeric powder were
found adulterated with dung and chalk powder respectively. It was found that
in loose-1 coriander powder. Approximately 50 percent of adulteration would
be there in coriander loose powder. It is indeed interesting to note that all
the three loose samples of salt, sanchal and sindav were found adulterated when
Loose-1 wheat flour was found adulterated with grit and atta from which maida-suji has been extracted and taste was also insipid. All the three loose samples of rajagara flour were found to be adulterated with grit or chalk powder. In visual inspection of wheat flour and bajara flour, loose-1 flour one was darker in colour rather than other two samples, the reason could be that more bran particles were present in loose-1 flour that is wheat flour and bajara flour.
The results also revealed that almost all loose products were found adulterated except handwa flour, rice flour and singoda flour rather than standard or sub-standard food products (Table 8).
Conclusion: Form the present study it could be concluded that low income
group respondents were least educated, had low awareness about their rights
and responsibilities and food adulteration. So this group needs to be armed
with lot of information and training on the issues of food adulteration and
ways to raise their voice when felt cheated. They had limited income, so they
could not reach the standard items of their choice. On seeing such condition
of consumer, our government has made sincere efforts to curb the fraudulent
practices by enactment of various laws. It is highly unlikely that more legislation
or increasing fines and jail terms alone will help reduce adulteration, particularly
given the corruption that exists in the enforcement area and the low conviction
rate. Greater consumer vigilance and action alone can help improve the situation.
But such efforts are not fruitful unless consumers themselves are aware of their
rights and responsibilities. Under these circumstances, consumer literacy is
the need of the hour with special attention to low income groups who suffer