Due to the growing trend of consuming healthy food, which reproduces the ideal of the food the authors tried in their childhood, an increasing number of researchers have brought together the values of tradition, nostalgia and food. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between food and nostalgia in order to find out in which way they affect each other.
In order to explore the perspectives of traditional food in re-collecting and re-experiencing positive past experiences, both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used in two stages. First, focus group interviews were conducted with ten restaurant chefs in three different regions of Croatia. Then, a survey was carried out with 362 Croatian consumers.
Focus group results show that although traditional food creates new opportunities for differentiation, finding the right ingredients and time for cooking traditional food is still a problem. There is a low interest in traditional food in restaurants, as domestic patrons mostly worry about the high prices, while foreign ones do not know anything about such foods due to the inadequate promotion of Croatian gastronomic offer. Survey results indicate that consumers are familiar with traditional Croatian food, eat it regularly at home and consider it as food with high-quality aspects that reminds them of their childhood and positive past experiences.
The results presented in this paper give some directions for subjects involved in the manufacturing industry, tourism, the restaurant industry, etc. to devise ways of reminding their customers of childhood memories, family ties, etc.
A relatively small number of food-centred studies are directly concerned with nostalgia. Many more studies investigate food in social changes, related to ethnic elements, etc. Considering an extensive literature review, and the analysis of data in the qualitative and quantitative study, this paper addresses two multidimensional and complex concepts which are powerful predictors of customer satisfaction.
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