A consumer focus group was conducted in West Texas, to discuss consumer opinion about desired features in take‐out containers or packaging, and perceptions related to food safety practices.
The results of this qualitative case study indicated that the majority of take‐out food was purchased for personal consumption, and that location, convenience and time are the primary factors influencing the decision for purchase. The main features considered desirable in take‐out containers were these: the ability to insulate food, to contain product without spillage, and to keep individual foods separate within the same package.
As the desirability for take‐out food continues to increase, risks emerge surrounding the lack of handling instructions on most take‐out packaging, and the scarcity of consumer food safety knowledge. Though most participants in this study claimed to return home quickly with take‐out food after purchase, and consume the food as soon as possible, a good number admitted to not being as knowledgeable about food safety and handling as they would like.
Though data were collected from a diverse group of panelists, the small scope of this research could not be said to represent the USA as a whole. Future studies would need to include multiple focus group studies in metropolitan regions across the nation.
The paper adds to the body of knowledge on take‐out food and customer attitudes to food safety.
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