The purpose of this paper is to provide an insight into considerations underlying consumers’ perceptions of Norwegian food and to examine what the concept of belonging can add to the understanding of national food.
Two-stage qualitative research design, where data were first collected by in-store interviews with 100 customers in 30 different food retail stores (supermarkets, low discount and specialty stores) in three areas in Norway (East, West and Mid). This was followed by four focus groups with consumers (n=34) in two areas (East and West).
The consumers perceived Norwegian food as having two main dimensions: foods grown and produced in Norway and dishes belonging to traditional cuisine. These two dimensions could coexist and foods that embodied both aspects were higher on a scale of national identity. Perceptions of Norwegian food reflected context, food category and consumer group. The findings support the use of the concept of belonging. Emotional belonging was mainly expressed by the consumers when talking about traditional dishes and Norwegian cuisine, whereas politics of belonging had to do with supporting domestic agriculture and especially produce that has been traditionally grown in Norway.
The findings may have implications for product differentiation and marketing.
This study adds the concept of belonging to the existing literature on consumers, food and place.
The authors thank the consumers, retail stores and staff for their participation. This study is financed by the Research Programme on Sustainable Innovation in Food and Bio-based Industries, the Research Council of Norway.
Roos, G.M., Hansen, K.V. and Skuland, A.V. (2016), "Consumers, Norwegian food and belonging: a qualitative study", British Food Journal, Vol. 118 No. 10, pp. 2359-2371. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-01-2016-0041
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