Previous research demonstrated that the marketing strategy of ingredient branding can enhance brand value, whilst enlarging outcomes for the value chain. Although, African-ingredient branding—using commodities produced/grown in Africa as a product attribute—has been considered theoretically, it has never been explored experimentally. It is therefore unclear whether this particular marketing strategy could increase brand equity. By conducting two experimental studies, this research work explores whether African-ingredient branding can enhance the evaluation of food items by export-market consumers and examines whether the strength of host brands and/or attitudes towards specific African countries of origin might also influence consumer evaluation processes with regard to African-ingredient branded products. The results reveal that African-ingredient branding is a valuable marketing strategy, which can have a positive influence on the evaluation of food items by export-market consumers. They further illustrate that evaluations of these products are only affected by the strength of the host brand, suggesting that the strategy is more effective for strong brands than for weak brands. Consumer attitudes towards specific African countries are apparently not decisive for their evaluations of hedonic products branded according to African ingredients. The research work provides primary experimental evidence of the positive effects of African-ingredient branding as a valuable marketing strategy, indicating theoretical and practical-normative implications, as well as suggestions for future research.
Key words: Marketing, ingredient branding, African-ingredient branding, export-market consumer.