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Article

European Consumers’ Perceptions and Attitudes towards Non-Thermally Processed Fruit and Vegetable Products

1
Department of Technology and Innovation, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense, Denmark
2
Associazione Italiana Difesa Consumatori ed Ambiente (ADICONSUM), 00199 Rome, Italy
3
Cluster FOOD+I, 26500 Calahorra La Rioja, Spain
4
Ctic Cita, 26315 Alesón La Rioja, Spain
5
Department of Agricultural Sciences, Universita’ degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, 80055 Portici, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Foods 2020, 9(12), 1732; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121732
Received: 18 October 2020 / Revised: 15 November 2020 / Accepted: 20 November 2020 / Published: 25 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory and Consumer Research for a Sustainable Food System)
In order to meet the demand for high-quality fruit and vegetable (F&V) products, a wide variety of novel non-thermal processing (NTP) technologies are under development. This study used a qualitative focus group approach to investigate consumers’ perception and attitudes towards non-thermally processed F&V products among young (18–30 years old) and middle-aged (45–60 y.o.) consumers across six European countries: Denmark, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Spain, and the Netherlands. Findings show that the expected benefits and social concerns are important factors which affect consumers’ attitudes toward non-thermally processed F&V. Extending shelf-life, being healthier and more nutritious, and better hygiene and safety were important benefits, whilst impacts on product quality, safety risks, higher price and environmental costs were the concerns most often mentioned by participants. However, due to a lack of knowledge and trustworthy information sources, consumers have difficulties in assessing relevant benefits and risks. Targeted communication that could explicitly and efficiently reveal benefits and risks is highly recommended to enhance consumer awareness and trust. This may especially be needed to reach middle-aged consumers who showed less confidence in NTP, compared to young consumers. Consumers from Spain, Denmark, and the Netherlands appeared more interested in consuming NTP F&V, compared to Italy, Serbia, and Germany. These findings are expected to provide recommendations to better communicate non-thermally processed F&V with consumers in the EU. View Full-Text
Keywords: non-thermal processing technologies; consumer perception; fruit and vegetables; food processing non-thermal processing technologies; consumer perception; fruit and vegetables; food processing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Song, X.; Pendenza, P.; Díaz Navarro, M.; Valderrama García, E.; Di Monaco, R.; Giacalone, D. European Consumers’ Perceptions and Attitudes towards Non-Thermally Processed Fruit and Vegetable Products. Foods 2020, 9, 1732. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121732

AMA Style

Song X, Pendenza P, Díaz Navarro M, Valderrama García E, Di Monaco R, Giacalone D. European Consumers’ Perceptions and Attitudes towards Non-Thermally Processed Fruit and Vegetable Products. Foods. 2020; 9(12):1732. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121732

Chicago/Turabian Style

Song, Xiao, Paola Pendenza, María Díaz Navarro, Elisa Valderrama García, Rossella Di Monaco, and Davide Giacalone. 2020. "European Consumers’ Perceptions and Attitudes towards Non-Thermally Processed Fruit and Vegetable Products" Foods 9, no. 12: 1732. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121732

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