Consumer choice for international traditional food products

Key drivers influencing perceived quality and choice of international traditional food products: The role of familiarity and communication as valorisation tools.

Food choice is a task that needs to be undertaken by individuals on a daily basis, in order to secure an intake of the necessary nutrients that will allow the functioning of our body. However, it is a complex process that englobes several factors that play a role before and after purchase (Steenkamp, 1990). At the shop, consumers use several cues and attributes to evaluate product quality, which will have an influence on their food choice. In this respect, the understanding of the key drivers involved in consumers food choice is paramount to improve/develop new products that will successfully reflect their needs and requirements (Linnemann et al., 2006).

An interesting personal factor involved in this process is familiarity. It has been related to several product-related experiences such as knowledge, product availability and choice, consumption frequency, and typicality (Banović et al., 2012). In the literature, a higher familiarity with the product is linked to a higher understanding of its attributes, which is translated to more informed product evaluations.

Nowadays, globalisation has elicited the positioning of ITFP in markets all around the world allowing a higher diversification and promoting the glocalisation. Spring rolls, sushi, tacos, lasagne, among others, are widely known and consumed around the globe, in other words, consumers are familiar to these products. However, many other ITFP do not shared the same popularity. In this context, little information is available regarding the perceptions and preferences of consumers for TFP and none regarding the influence of familiarity and degree of globalisation in the choice of international traditional food products (ITFP).

This research aims at identifying the key drivers influencing the perceived quality and choice of ITFP, specially the role of familiarity, in countries with contrasting levels of globalisation in order to understand how to valorise ITFP via the communication of key intrinsic and extrinsic quality cues.

Consumers from countries having different levels of food globalisation will assess several ITFP to determine their perceptions and preferences. Qualitative (focus groups, in-depth interviews, etc.) and quantitative (questionnaires, conjoint analysis, etc.) research techniques will be used to determine the key drivers involved in the process. Finally, a set of communication strategies will be suggested to increase the familiarity towards these products by targeting the key drivers.

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