Consumer perception of dual food quality based on a questionnaire survey
Lajos Bognár, Annamária Dorkó, Veronika László, László Fekete, Dávid Szakos, Gyula Kasza
The dual quality of foods, i.e., the phenomenon that consumers find foods of different quality or composition in different countries under the same brand name and or with very similar packaging, has been one of the most pressing issues in the food chain in recent years. Predating the product comparative and consumer studies of the European Commission, the National Food Chain Safety Office has been investigating the issue since 2014 using several methodologies. In our article, the results of the consumer research carried out within the framework of the RCR-EFSQ CHAFEA project also supported by the EU. The issue of dual quality is given special attention in public perception. Nearly half of Hungarian consumers have noticed specific differences between foods of the same brand, available both in Western Europe and in Hungary. Three out of five respondents said that dual quality was not acceptable, and nine out of ten said that it was important for the manufacturer to inform the consumer about dual quality on the product label if there is such a phenomenon. Therefore, there is a clear need to address this issue at an official level, not only at a legal level as a result of the amendment of the directive, but also in terms of consumer information. Based on the opinion of the respondents, any differences should be clearly indicated on the packaging of the given product. The consumer opinions revealed in our research can provide guidance for the design of future product comparative studies, as well as for the consumer-friendly handling of the situation by manufacturers.
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