|dc.description.abstract||The United States cheese consumption has grown considerably over the years. Using Nielsen Homescan panel data for calendar years 2005 and 2006, this dissertation examines the effect of economic and socio-demographic factors on the demand for disaggregated cheese varieties and on the cheese industry in general. In the first essay, we estimated the censored demand for 14 cheese varieties and identified the respective own-price and cross-price elasticities. Also, non-price factors were determined affecting the purchase of each variety as well as the impact of generic dairy advertising. Results revealed that most of the natural cheese varieties have an elastic demand while the processed cheese products exhibited inelastic demands. Strong substitution and complementarity relationships were identified as well, and a two quarter carry-over effect of advertising was observed for most of cheese demands. Results also showed that household demographics affected the demands differently, depending on the nature of the cheese varieties.
The second essay examined the impact of retail promotion on the decision to purchase private label processed cheese products using a probit model. A strong negative relationship was found between national brand manufacturer couponing activity and the private label purchase decision. Therefore, national brand couponing appears to be an effective strategy for manufacturers to deter private label growth. This analysis also shows that the decision of purchasing a private label cheese product is influenced by socio-demographic characteristics of the household, namely household income and size, age and education level of the household head, race, ethnicity, and location.
In the third study, the feasibility of fortifying processed cheese with omega-3 is investigated. This ex-ante analysis took into account the market conditions and evaluates the increase in the demand for processed cheese needed to offset the costs of fortification in order to maintain the profitability of manufacturers like Kraft. Initially, the censored demand for processed cheese products is estimated using panel data; subsequently, the profitability of manufacturing such product is determined.This analysis shows that, within reasonable market conditions and reasonable marginal costs, the fortification of processed cheese products with omega-3 fatty acids indeed is feasible from a profitability standpoint to manufacturers.||en