Consumers' food choice and quality perception
There is a long tradition of research into consumers’ food choice and quality perception. In the last few years, however, these topics have received even more attention due to the intense debate about such issues as ethical considerations in relation to food production and quality, food scandals and the resulting food scares among consumers, genetic modification of foods, and animal welfare (or, rather, non-welfare), which has made questions regarding food quality and consumers’ supposedly rational or irrational food choices even more urgent. In-creased interest in health and quality stands in stark contrast to a perceived unwillingness to pay the higher prices this implies, and scepticism about industrial food production stands in contrast to busy lifestyles and a resulting demand for convenience. However, while the topics of food quality perception and choice have certainly become more complex, research has also provided new insights into them. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of research carried out on consumers’ food quality perception and choice at the MAPP Centre during the last 10 years, and is part of a major research project at Fødevareøkonomisk Institut (FØI). In this project, the paper will serve as input on quality per-cep-tion from a consumer point of view. The results presented in the paper will give insights into how consumers perceive food quality and why they choose the food products they do, and may thus help in understanding the complicated concept of food quality. Although the starting point of the paper is in research carried out at the MAPP Centre, it will also include results from other sources where needed for a more thorough discussion of a specific topic. The criteria for including additional material are relevance to the topic in question and the extent to which the topic has been researched at MAPP. As a general framework for ana-lysing consumer quality perception and choice of food products, MAPP has developed the Total Food Quality Model, which will be used to structure this overview. We start by presenting the Total Food Quality Model and an overview of the research methods involved. We then describe the various elements of the model in more detail, based on four major quality dimensions – health, taste, process characteristics, convenience.
|Date of creation:||01 Jun 2002|
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