Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Guest editorial From: British Food Journal, Volume 116, Issue 11
Food has the primary and vital functions of satisfying people's biological and hedonic needs. However, food reflects other complex meanings, such as a national and cultural identity, and can be a key factor in different contexts, such as entertainment, associations and in getting acquainted with regional cultures. Moreover, changing behavioural patterns and lifestyles, and increasing consumer concerns for health emphasize the "back to tradition" and, "back to nature" type of food. Contrary to the globalization of food, which has affected people's eating behaviour since the late-1960s, support for traditional, regional cuisine and indigenous country food has become more fashionable. Additionally, food plays a key role in attracting tourists to a certain destination because of its reflection of a region's culture and lifestyle. Having in mind that there is a vast amount of literature on food and its functions, this Special Issue seeks to extend the insights into the resurgence of traditional and authentic food.
There are nine papers in this Special Issue of the British Food Journal. The first paper, "Sensing nostalgia through traditional food: an insight from Croatia" by Sanda Renko and Kristina Bucar, has brought together the values of tradition, nostalgia and food in the context of the Republic of Croatia, one of the southeast European emerging countries with a long tradition of homemade food. Results indicate that consumers are familiar with traditional Croatian food, which reminds them of their childhood and positive past experiences.
In the second paper, "Developing an authenticity model of traditional food specialties: does the self-concept of consumers matter?", by Katia Laura Sidali and Sarah Hemmerling, the authors develop an authenticity scale for food specialties considering both the subjective and the object-based dimensions of authenticity. The results of the study among German respondents help to understand what influences the perception of authenticity of a traditional food product and how it affects purchase intentions.
Following on from the above, the third paper is "Customer loyalty towards traditional products – polish market experience", by Edyta Rudawska. The paper explores key determinants of Polish consumers’ loyalty towards traditional foodstuffs. The paper focuses on two main aspects. One is connected with the development of traditional foodstuffs being a consequence of the growing prosperity of the Polish society, and the emergence of consumers who rate quality, national/regional identity and their own cultural values higher than the price. The other one is connected with key determinants of consumer loyalty towards traditional products.
The fourth paper, "What motivates consumers to buy traditional food products? evidence from Croatia and Austria using word association and laddering interviews", by Marija Cerjak, Rainer Haas, Florian Brunner and Marina Tomic, analyses the differences between consumer motives regarding the purchase of traditional food in Croatia and Austria. Using a word association test and soft laddering interviews the authors find that the most frequent associations/definition in both countries refers to heritage (food of generations) and elaboration (traditional receipt), the Austrians connect traditional food with environmentally friendly production while for the Croatians sentimental hedonism ladder starts with the perception of traditional food as a mean to connect with childhood.
In the fifth paper, "Lifestyle patterns underlying organic and traditional food consumption", by Aleksandra Nikolic, Mirza Uzunovic and Nermina Spaho, the authors identify common lifestyle patterns shaping the consumption of organic and traditional food products. They emphasize that traditional food and organic food consumption patterns are driven by a common lifestyle pattern defined by a concern for the welfare of all people, social equality, and nature; and by a consumers' belief that food is the basis of their health, while food and cooking make up an important part of family life.
The sixth paper, "Perspectives on global fermented foods", by Gargi Dey and Surabhi Soni, focuses on traditional fermented foods in regions like Africa, North America, South America, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East and Europe. The paper reviews the past, present and possible future use of various fermented foods and beverages with an emphasis on their microbiology and therapeutic effects, and highlights a re-emergence of interest in traditional and regional fermented foods.
The seventh paper, "Strengthening regional identities and culture through wine industry cross border collaboration", by Alkis Thrassou, Francesco Contò, Demetris Vrontis and Mariantonietta Fiore, presents an exploratory research, based on the findings of an extensive project across ten countries, spanning from Italy to Eastern Europe. The main purpose of the paper is to develop and promote wine culture, and consequently tourism and hospitality, paying particular attention to the process and actions supporting the development and refinement of cultural attributes, traditional values and regional identity.
The last two papers portray a local orientation. In the eighth paper "Consumers' evolving definition and expectations for local foods", by Mark Lang, John Stanton and Yingdao Qu, the authors investigate various emerging definitional elements of local foods to determine which elements may be as important to food shoppers today as the prevailing food miles definition. The findings point out that consumers consider other definitional elements as important as distance in their definition of local foods and that they expect to find them in secondary outlets beyond farmers markets and the produce department. In the ninth paper, "tourist perceived image of local cuisine: the case of Bosnian food culture", by Merima Cinjarevic and Almir Pestek, the authors explore the underlying dimensions of Bosnia and Herzegovina local cuisine image by identifying the key cuisine attributes tourists rely on in their evaluations of local cuisine. The results suggest that the local cuisine image compromises four components (dimensions): "food uniqueness and cultural heritage", "food quality and price", "nutrition and health benefits of food" and "affective image of food".
Finally, I would like to thank all of the authors who submitted their manuscripts for consideration. Also, I thank the reviewers who, through a double-blind reviewing process, helped the authors improve their manuscripts. Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the editor, Chris Griffith and the BFJ team for their support and help during the entire process of creating this Special Issue.
Professor Sanda Renko, Department of Trade, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia