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Geographical region as a factor influencing consumers’ perception of functional food – case of Croatia

Jasenka Gajdoš Kljusuric (Department of Process Engineering, Laboratory for Measurement, Regulation and Automatisation, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia)
Jasna Čačić (Croatian Association of Drink Producers, Zagreb, Croatia)
Andreja Misir (United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, US Embassy Zagreb, Buzin, Croatia)
Dražen Čačić (Croatian Agricultural Extension Service, Velika Gorica, Croatia)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

In recent years, consumers have developed an interest in the type and the quality of food they eat. As consumers’ opinion is very important in identifying development strategy for food industry it seems justified finding out if geographical region had an influence on consumers’ opinion. Furthermore, this is the topic that is still under researched. The purpose of this paper is to investigate consumers’ perception of functional food (FF) relative to geographical region.

Design/methodology/approach

Questionnaire based survey was conducted on a representative national sample with participants aged 18 and older (n=687). Participants were divided according to their place of residence taking into account difference in dietary habits, which created two geographical sets: Coastal (Adriatic) Croatia and Continental Croatia. Data were analyzed using univariate statistics and multivariate analysis as exploratory factor analysis, cluster analysis and principal component analysis.

Findings

The results indicate that Croatian consumers are familiar with the term “FF” and that there are significant differences between two geographical sets of respondents (Coastal Croatia and Continental Croatia) in their willingness to pay for FF. Furthermore, research showed that there is a general lack of confidence in the information provided on the product labels especially in the continental region. The results have shown that “taste” and “price quality ratio” are the most important features in choosing the FF and are equally important to the consumers’ in both geographical region.

Practical implications

Research results indicate a need for development of consumers’ confidence and need to focus mainly on educating consumers in label comprehension. This is particularly true for the Continental Croatia. Targeted advertising should take into account consumers’ preferences, confidence and label comprehension according to their geographical regions.

Originality/value

The case study represents consumers’ opinion coming from different geographical regions (Coastal Croatia and Continental Croatia) regarding FF. In this research the most important attributes in choosing the FF were extracted.

Keywords

Citation

Gajdoš Kljusuric, J., Čačić, J., Misir, A. and Čačić, D. (2015), "Geographical region as a factor influencing consumers’ perception of functional food – case of Croatia", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 No. 3, pp. 1017-1031. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-12-2013-0282

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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