European Consumers’ Definition and Perception of Traditional Foods

  • Wim Verbeke
  • Luis Guerrero
  • Valerie Lengard Almli
  • Filiep Vanhonacker
  • Margrethe Hersleth
Part of the Integrating Food Science and Engineering Knowledge Into the Food Chain book series (ISEKI-Food, volume 10)


This chapter presents how European consumers define and perceive traditional foods based on consumer research performed within the EU-funded project Truefood. The insights were obtained through focus group studies, free word association tests, and cross-European quantitative consumer surveys. Consumers’ definition of traditional foods refers primarily to eating habits, naturalness, heritage, taste, and locality. Traditional foods have an overall positive image among European consumers, which provides an ideal basis to capitalize on future product development, market positioning, and marketing communication.


Consumer Image Perception Survey Traditional food 


  1. Abad NS, Sheldon KM (2008) Parental autonomy support and ethnic culture identification among second-generation immigrants. J Fam Psychol 22:652–657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Almli VL, Verbeke W, Vanhonacker F, Næs T, Hersleth M (2011) General image and attribute perception of traditional foods in Europe. Food Qual Prefer 22:129–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Askegaard S, Madsen TK (1998) The local and the global: exploring traits of homogeneity and heterogeneity in European food cultures. Int Bus Rev 7:549–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Avermaete T, Viaene J, Morgan EJ, Pitts E, Crawford N, Mahon D (2004) Determinants of product and process innovation in small food manufacturing firms. Trends Food Sci Technol 15:474–783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Becker T (2009) European food quality policy: the importance of geographical indications, organic certification and food quality assurance schemes in European countries. Estey Centre J Int Law Trade Policy 10:111–130Google Scholar
  6. Bertozzi L (1998) Tipicidad alimentaria y dieta mediterranea. In: Medina A, Medina F, Colesantie G (eds) El color de la alimentacion mediterranea: Elementos sensoriales y culturales de la nutricion. Icaria, Barcelona, pp 15–41Google Scholar
  7. Caporale G, Policastro S, Carlucci A, Monteleone E (2006) Consumer expectations for sensory properties in virgin olive oils. Food Qual Prefer 17:116–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cayot N (2007) Sensory quality of traditional foods. Food Chem 101:154–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cembalo L, Cicia G, Del Giudice T, Scarpa R, Tagliafierro T (2008) Beyond agropiracy: the case of Italian pasta in the United States retail market. Agribusiness 24:403–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chambers S, Lobb A, Butler L, Harvey K, Traill B (2007) Local, national and imported foods: a qualitative study. Appetite 49:208–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. EU (2006) Council Regulation (EC) No 509/2006 of 20 March 2006 on agricultural products and foodstuffs as traditional specialities guaranteed. Off J Eur Union L 93/1Google Scholar
  12. EU DOOR (2011) EU agricultural product quality policy. DOOR (Database of Origin and Registration). Accessed May 2011
  13. EU DOOR (2015) EU agricultural product quality policy. DOOR (Database of Origin and Registration). Accessed May 2015 (Retrieved May 2015 from EU DOOR. 2011. “EU agricultural product quality policy—DOOR Database of Origin and Registration”)
  14. EuroFIR (2007) FOOD-CT-2005-513944. EU 6th Framework Food Quality and Safety Programme.
  15. European Commission (2007) European research on traditional foods.
  16. Guerrero L, Colomer Y, Guardia MD, Xicola J, Clotet R (2000) Consumer attitude towards store brands. Food Qual Prefer 11:387–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Guerrero L, Guàrdia MD, Xicola J, Verbeke W, Vanhonacker F, Zakowska S, Sajdakowska M, Sulmont-Rossé C, Issanchou S, Contel M, Scalvedi LM, Granli BS, Hersleth M (2009) Consumer-driven definition of traditional food products and innovation in traditional foods. A qualitative cross-cultural study. Appetite 52:345–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guerrero L, Claret A, Verbeke W, Enderli G, Zadowska-Biemans S, Vanhonacker F, Issanchou S, Sajdakowska M, Granli BS, Scalvedi L, Contel M, Hersleth M (2010) Perception of traditional food products in six European countries using free word association. Food Qual Prefer 21:225–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guinard JX, Yip D, Cubero E, Mazzucchelli R (1999) Quality ratings by experts, and relation with descriptive analysis ratings: a case study with beer. Food Qual Prefer 10:59–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Iaccarino T, Di Monaco R, Mincione A, Cavella S, Masi P (2006) Influence of information on origin and technology on the consumer response: the case of soppressata salami. Food Qual Prefer 17:76–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jordana J (2000) Traditional foods: challenges facing the European food industry. Food Res Int 33:147–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kjaernes U, Roe E, Bock B (2007) Societal concerns on farm animal welfare. PowerPoint presentation on the Second Stakeholder Conference ‘Assuring animal welfare: from societal concerns to implementation’, Welfare Quality®, Berlin, 3–4 May.
  23. Krueger RA (1988) Focus groups: a practical guide for applied research. Sage, Newbury Park, 215 pGoogle Scholar
  24. Kuznesof S, Tregear A, Moxey A (1997) Regional foods: a consumer perspective. Br Food J 99:199–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lobb A, Mazzocchi M (2007) Domestically produced food: consumer perceptions of origin, safety and the issue of trust. Acta Agric Scand C Food Econ 4:3–12Google Scholar
  26. Ministero Agricoltura (1999) Decreto Legislativo 30 Aprile 1998 n. 173. Decreto Ministero Agricoltura 8 settembre 1999 n. 350, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  27. Montanari M (1994) The culture of food. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, 232 pGoogle Scholar
  28. Nelms BC (2005) Giving children a great gift: family traditions. J Pediatr Health Care 19:345–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nosi C, Zanni L (2004) Moving from “typical products” to “food-related services”. Br Food J 106:779–792CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pieniak Z, Verbeke W, Vanhonacker F, Guerrero L, Hersleth M (2009) Association between traditional food consumption and motives for food choice in six European countries. Appetite 53:101–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Platania M, Privitera D (2006) Typical products and consumer preferences: the “soppressata” case. Br Food J 108:385–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Resurreccion AVA (1998) Consumer sensory testing for product development. Aspen, Gaitherburg, 254 pGoogle Scholar
  33. Roininen K, Arvola A, Lahteenmaki L (2006) Exploring consumers’ perceptions different qualitative of local food with two techniques: laddering and word association. Food Qual Prefer 17:20–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sanzo MJ, Belen del Rio A, Iglesias V, Vazquez R (2003) Attitude and satisfaction in a traditional food product. Br Food J 105:771–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Schamel G (2007) Auction markets for specialty food products with geographical indications. Agric Econ 37:257–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stefani G, Romano D, Cavicchi A (2006) Consumer expectations, liking and willingness to pay for specialty foods: do sensory characteristics tell the whole story? Food Qual Prefer 17:53–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Vanhonacker F, Lengard V, Hersleth M, Verbeke W (2010a) Profiling European traditional food consumers. Br Food J 112:871–886CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Vanhonacker F, Verbeke W, Guerrero L, Claret A, Contel M, Scalvedi L, Zakowska-Biemans S, Gutkowska K, Sulmot-Rossé C, Raude J, Gransli BS, Hersleth M (2010b) How European consumers define the concept of traditional food: evidence from a survey in six countries. Agribusiness 26:453–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Verbeke W, Pieniak Z, Guerrero L, Hersleth M (2012) Consumers’ awareness and attitudinal determinants of European Union quality label use on traditional foods. Bio-Based Appl Econ 1:89–105Google Scholar
  40. Weatherell C, Tregear A, Allinson J (2003) In search of the concerned consumer: UK public perceptions of food, farming and buying local. J Rural Stud 19:233–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wycherley A, McCarthy M, Cowan C (2008) Speciality food orientation of food related lifestyle (FRL) segments in Great Britain. Food Qual Prefer 19:498–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wim Verbeke
    • 1
  • Luis Guerrero
    • 2
  • Valerie Lengard Almli
    • 3
  • Filiep Vanhonacker
    • 1
  • Margrethe Hersleth
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural EconomicsGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.IRTA Monells, Finca Camps i ArmetMonellsSpain
  3. 3.NofimaÅsNorway

Personalised recommendations