The perception of food quality. Profiling Italian consumers.
Sommaire de l'article
This study aims to analyse the elements which, according to Italian consumers, contribute most to defining the quality of a food product. A sample of 1000 consumers, in charge of purchases for the household, was interviewed by telephone. The data analysis has made it possible to categorise Italian consumers into two main groups: on the one hand those who mainly use criteria associated with organoleptic elements, and, on the other, those who make their choice based on place and methods of production. Both categories were studied with a view to identifying their distinctive socio-demographic and behavioural features. Geographical provenance, age, propensity to read the label on products, scientific knowledge and self-assessment of knowledge on food safety-related issues emerged as the main differences between the two groups. The perception of quality appears to affect purchase decisions and dietary patterns. The description of the consumer groups who use the same elements to define quality provided a useful insight into consumer choices and potential risk-exposure behaviours. The study of these aspects is therefore relevant for the purpose of designing effective and targeted communication actions, not only for companies but also for public institutions in charge of safeguarding public health.