Special Issue "Consumer Behavior and Food Choice"

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Sensory and Consumer Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 April 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Cristina Calvo-Porral
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Business Administration, University of La Coruña, Coruña, Galicia, Spain
Interests: food marketing; consumer behavior; consumer science; food store brands; emotions in food consumption; food sensory analysis; alcoholic beverage consumption; food waste
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Understanding consumer behavior is one of the major challenges for food managers and food companies in order to meet consumers’ needs and demand. Nowadays, consumers care about what they eat, how their food is produced, and the impact that food production and consumption have on the environment and society, but consumers do not behave in a homogeneous way and differ in the way they make decisions about food. In addition, today consumers are more demanding when making food choices, and previous research highlights health, convenience, functionality, and pleasure as the main drivers of food selection. Similarly, there are multiple factors potentially influencing food choice that could be product-based or consumer-based, such as consumer underlying motivations, food involvement, lifestyle, and cultural and social aspects, as well as food products’ packaging, labelling, price, country of origin, and even appearance.

This Special Issue invites researchers to submit high-quality original research contributions and reviews on consumer behavior in food selection, food consumption, and purchase decisions, including “hot topics”, innovative research perspectives, innovations in research methodologies, and insights from interdisciplinary fields.

This Special Issue welcomes original research that covers all aspects of consumer behavior related to food choice, and potentially encompasses topics such as food consumption behavior; consumer multisensory perception; healthy, nutritional, or quality food choices; hedonic and functional food selection; as well as social and cultural aspects of food choice.

Prof. Dr. Cristina Calvo-Porral
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Foods is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Consumer behavior
  • Food multisensory perception
  • Quality and safety food choices
  • Healthy and nutritional food choices
  • Food package and labelling
  • Local food and organic food
  • Hedonic and functional food choices
  • Food choice motivations
  • Social and cultural aspects of food choice
  • Consumer lifestyle and food choices

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Opuntia ficus-indica as an Ingredient in New Functional Pasta: Consumer Preferences in Italy
Foods 2021, 10(4), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10040803 - 08 Apr 2021
Viewed by 229
Abstract
Opuntia ficus-indica is a source of minerals and vitamins and has recently been used as ingredient to make a new functional variety of pasta. Italy was the first country in the world to produce pasta and is also the second largest producer of [...] Read more.
Opuntia ficus-indica is a source of minerals and vitamins and has recently been used as ingredient to make a new functional variety of pasta. Italy was the first country in the world to produce pasta and is also the second largest producer of Opuntia in the world. According to an Italian sample, this study considers the main factors that could influence consumers when choosing functional pasta (featuring Opuntia) and characterizes distinct hypothetical consumer segments in terms of their food habits, pasta choices, and perceptions toward functional pasta featuring Opuntia. Data were collected using a web-based survey and with 328 respondents. Factor analysis (FA) with orthogonal rotation (varimax) was used to simplify the observed variables and hierarchical cluster analysis was performed with the FA results. Seven clusters were identified and the main results show that the level of education plays an important role in the perception of functional pasta. In fact, the perceptions of well-educated people differed from poorly-educated people. Moreover, the results showed significant respondent interest regarding health benefits and the nutritional and environmental aspects of functional pasta, which should encourage people’s acceptance and consumption of this new functional food. In addition, the respondent preferences reflect a value of experience towards the pasta, i.e., the belief of cooking typical Italian pasta. This means that Opuntia used for the production of functional pasta should maintain the organoleptic and physical properties of durum wheat-based pasta. In addition, respondent preferences for pasta featuring Opuntia could also be driven by its price. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
Open AccessArticle
The Asymmetric Emotional Associations to Beverages: An Approach through the Theory of Positive Asymmetry
Foods 2021, 10(4), 794; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10040794 - 08 Apr 2021
Viewed by 261
Abstract
Consumers experience mainly positive emotions in response to food products, and the reason is that, for most individuals, eating and drinking is a pleasurable experience. On this premise, in light of the Theory of Positive Asymmetry, this study answers the following question: “ [...] Read more.
Consumers experience mainly positive emotions in response to food products, and the reason is that, for most individuals, eating and drinking is a pleasurable experience. On this premise, in light of the Theory of Positive Asymmetry, this study answers the following question: “What emotions prevail in beverage consumption?” A MANOVA test was developed comparing emotions associated with spirits (n = 247), alcoholic beverages (n = 560) and non-alcoholic beverages (n = 254). The findings report that the positive asymmetry of emotions occurs in beverage consumption, regardless of the type of beverage product, since pleasant or positive emotions are primarily associated with beverages’ consumption. The analysis suggests that individuals predominantly associate beverages with pleasant emotions, regardless of the type of beverage, while the level of alcohol content seems to be influencing the different emotions and affect. The research results provide valuable insights to help managers and marketers understand the choice and preference for different beverages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
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Open AccessArticle
Heart Images on Food Labels: A Health Claim or Not?
Foods 2021, 10(3), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10030643 - 18 Mar 2021
Viewed by 369
Abstract
Health claims on food labels are used by food manufacturers to inform consumers about the health effects of a product, and such claims can have notable effects on consumer preferences. According to regulatory definitions, health claims can be either worded or presented as [...] Read more.
Health claims on food labels are used by food manufacturers to inform consumers about the health effects of a product, and such claims can have notable effects on consumer preferences. According to regulatory definitions, health claims can be either worded or presented as images, but it is not clear under which conditions an image on a food label should be considered a health claim. This question has important practical implications, as the use of health claims is strictly regulated. The objective of this study was to determine how commonly images of the heart are used on food labels, and to investigate consumers’ perceptions of products labelled with heart images, using different degrees of health relationships. Both a food supply study (N = 10,573 foods) and experiments with consumers (N = 1000) were performed in Slovenia. The use of heart imagery on food products was very common (9%). The consumer study was conducted using a web panel. Structure of the study population was comparable with Slovenian adult population (18–65 years), according to gender and age. The questionnaire was split into conjoint analysis with constructed elements, a choice-based task with real-life elements and a consumers’ association task. The experiments showed that a heart image as part of the brand name itself—without an additional (worded) health claim—did not cause most consumers to relate it to health. However, consumers tended to strongly relate an image of the heart as part of a brand with health benefits, where the image was accompanied by a worded health claim or if the heart image was designed specifically to imply health benefits. We can conclude that the use of heart images was very common on food products, but references to health were less common. Without a health-related context, heart images could not be considered as a health claim. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
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Open AccessArticle
The Heterogeneity of Consumer Preferences for Meat Safety Attributes in Traditional Markets
Foods 2021, 10(3), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10030624 - 16 Mar 2021
Viewed by 330
Abstract
In this study, we focus principally on Taiwan’s traditional markets, as food safety issues in those markets have been increasing recently. Thus, this poses pressures and challenges in traditional markets in terms of attracting consumers. This research aims to investigate whether there is [...] Read more.
In this study, we focus principally on Taiwan’s traditional markets, as food safety issues in those markets have been increasing recently. Thus, this poses pressures and challenges in traditional markets in terms of attracting consumers. This research aims to investigate whether there is consumer demand for more quality improvement from butchers and additional product information in Taiwan’s traditional markets by surveying consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP). This study determines consumers’ preferences for the important attributes and also investigates the different consumer segmentation in Taiwan’s traditional markets by analyzing the types of Taiwanese consumers who care about food safety and additional product information, including Taiwan Fresh Pork (TFP), QR code (provides product source information), Cold storage, and price. In this study, both Mixed Logit Model and Conditional Logit Model are used to elicit consumers’ WTP, and the Latent Class Model is used to understand the market segmentation in Taiwan’s traditional markets. The results show that the majority of Taiwanese consumers in traditional markets show preferences and WTP for meat products if Cold storage and QR code are available in Taiwan’s traditional markets. This work also provides appropriate strategies for improving the additional product information in Taiwan’s traditional markets, which can influence present and potential customers purchasing decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
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Open AccessArticle
U.S. Consumer Demand for Plant-Based Milk Alternative Beverages: Hedonic Metric Augmented Barten’s Synthetic Model
Foods 2021, 10(2), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10020265 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 443
Abstract
Consumers in the U.S. increasingly prefer plant-based milk alternative beverages (abbreviated “plant milk”) to conventional milk. This study is motivated by the need to take into consideration varied nutritional and qualitative attributes in plant milk to examine consumers’ purchasing behavior and estimate demand [...] Read more.
Consumers in the U.S. increasingly prefer plant-based milk alternative beverages (abbreviated “plant milk”) to conventional milk. This study is motivated by the need to take into consideration varied nutritional and qualitative attributes in plant milk to examine consumers’ purchasing behavior and estimate demand elasticities which are achieved by a new approach combing hedonic pricing model with Barten’s synthetic demand system. The method of estimation is enlightened from the common practice of companies differentiating their products in multidimensions in terms of attributes. A research dataset was uniquely created by associating the products’ purchase data from Nielsen Homescan dataset with exclusive first-hand nutritional data. Estimations began with creating a multidimensional hedonic attribute space based on the qualitative information of different types of plant milk and conventional milk available to consumers and then calculating the hedonic distances by Euclidean distance measurement to reparametrize Barten’s synthetic demand system. Estimation results showed that the highest own-price elasticity pertained to soy milk which was −0.25. Three plant milk types had inelastic demand. Soy milk exerted substituting effects on all types of conventional milk products and vice versa. Soy milk, rice milk and almond milk entertained complementary relationships between each other and four types of conventional milk were strong substitutes within the group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
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Open AccessArticle
Purchase Intention for Organic Food Products in Mexico: The Mediation of Consumer Desire
Foods 2021, 10(2), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10020245 - 26 Jan 2021
Viewed by 641
Abstract
Socially responsible consumption benefits the environment, the consumer, and the producer. In Mexico, smallholder farmers are vulnerable, and the consumption of organic food products is low. Analysing the purchase intention of organic food products contributes towards generating the most appropriate marketing strategies. Previous [...] Read more.
Socially responsible consumption benefits the environment, the consumer, and the producer. In Mexico, smallholder farmers are vulnerable, and the consumption of organic food products is low. Analysing the purchase intention of organic food products contributes towards generating the most appropriate marketing strategies. Previous models provide evidence that the attitude of the consumer is the biggest predictor of purchase intention. However, little is known about the results of the mediating effect of desire on said relationship. The objective of the study is to analyse the mediating effect of desire on the relationship between attitude and purchase intention. 204 consumers of organic food products were surveyed using a structured, self-administrated questionnaire or through face-to-face interviews, in established retail stores, alternative street markets, and via the web. It was found that when the benefits of organic food products to the consumer, environment, and smallholder farmers are evaluated favourably, then consumer desire is higher, and thus also purchase intention. Consumers have the highest purchase intention for organic food products when their desire to buy them to achieve a goal related with social, personal, and environmental benefits intervenes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Role of Psychological, Social, Religious and Ethical Determinants on Consumers’ Purchase Intention and Consumption of Convenience Food
Foods 2021, 10(2), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10020237 - 24 Jan 2021
Viewed by 515
Abstract
Despite impressive market growth, increasing demand and economic importance of convenience food in emerging economies such as India, comprehensive research regarding the role of psychological and social determinants on convenience food choice is lacking. Therefore, this research aims to investigate the influence of [...] Read more.
Despite impressive market growth, increasing demand and economic importance of convenience food in emerging economies such as India, comprehensive research regarding the role of psychological and social determinants on convenience food choice is lacking. Therefore, this research aims to investigate the influence of convenience orientation, social status, moral attitude, mood, spiritual concern, religious beliefs and ethical values on purchase intention and consumption of convenience food. The non-probability purposive sampling method was adopted for recruitment of participants. A pre-tested questionnaire was used to collect data from 501 consumers. The descriptive statistics, confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling were carried out to analyse the data. The factor loading, Cronbach’s alpha, composite reliability, average variance extracted, and correlations demonstrated good internal consistency and reliability of scale items as well as convergent and discriminant validity of the constructs. The model fit indices revealed that measurement and structural models fitted well with data. The path analysis of the structural model demonstrated that convenience orientation (β = 0.789 ***, t = 32.462), moral attitude (β = 0.594 ***, t = 20.984), mood (β = 0.586 ***, t = 18.683), spiritual concern (β = 0.145 ***, t = 3.23), religious beliefs (β = 0.451 ***, t = 14.787) and ethical values (β = 0.497 ***, t = 16.678) were positively related with purchase intention and consumption of convenience food (*** Significant at p ≤ 0.01). The path analysis of structural model also indicated that social status was not linked with purchase intention and consumption of convenience food. The convenience orientation was the key determinant influencing purchase intention and consumption of convenience food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
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Open AccessArticle
Emotions Evoked by Colors and Health Functionality Information of Colored Rice: A Cross-Cultural Study
Foods 2021, 10(2), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10020231 - 23 Jan 2021
Viewed by 516
Abstract
This study aimed to examine the emotional responses evoked by cooked colored rice and its health functionality information in both consumers who eat rice as a staple food and consumers who do not eat rice as a staple food. Specifically, Korean and American [...] Read more.
This study aimed to examine the emotional responses evoked by cooked colored rice and its health functionality information in both consumers who eat rice as a staple food and consumers who do not eat rice as a staple food. Specifically, Korean and American consumers were exposed to colored rice and its health functionality information and an emotion lexicon was generated and measured based on focus group interviews (FGI) and two online consumer surveys. In test 1, the emotions evoked by presentation of stimuli to Koreans (N = 10) and Americans (N = 10) were extracted through FGIs and the first online consumer survey (Koreans = 69; Americans = 68) and an emotion lexicon was generated. As a result, a total of 34 terms were confirmed. Test 2 was conducted during the second online consumer survey (capturing data from a total of 208 Koreans and 208 Americans), utilizing the terms generated in test 1. In this test, only the colors (CO) of colored rice were presented to one group, while colors and health functionality information (CO&H) were presented to the other group. The overall liking for stimuli in both countries was highly correlated with familiarity. Koreans showed significantly more familiarity and liking for CO of white and black CO rice, while Americans showed significantly more familiarity and liking for CO of white and yellow rice. Hierarchical cluster analysis was performed to categorize the emotion terms, and the emotion terms were sorted into the three clusters, “Positive”, “Negative”, and “New”, for both countries. Under informed conditions, the emotions became more positive, and emotions in the “New” cluster were evoked in both countries. The current study employed a cross-cultural approach to assess consumers’ emotional responses to colored rice and health functionality information. Our findings suggest that providing foods with preferred colors for each culture and providing sufficient information on the said foods will help to promote unfamiliar foods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
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Open AccessArticle
Hypotheses for the Reasons behind Beer Consumer’s Willingness to Purchase Beer: An Expanded Theory from a Planned Behavior Perspective
Foods 2020, 9(12), 1842; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121842 - 10 Dec 2020
Viewed by 534
Abstract
Because beer is one of the most common alcoholic beverages consumed in the world, this research adopted an expanded theory of planned behavior (TPB) perspective to understand why beer consumers purchase beer. This study investigated the effects of injunctive norms, descriptive norms, attitude, [...] Read more.
Because beer is one of the most common alcoholic beverages consumed in the world, this research adopted an expanded theory of planned behavior (TPB) perspective to understand why beer consumers purchase beer. This study investigated the effects of injunctive norms, descriptive norms, attitude, and perceived behavioral control on alcohol identity and purchase intention. The possible mediating role of alcohol identity was also investigated. This study was conducted in Taiwan, and a total of 452 beer consumers participated in the survey. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationship among the study variables. The results revealed that alcohol identity positively influences purchase intention, and attitude positively affects alcohol identity and purchase intention. In addition, injunctive norms have a positive influence on alcohol identity, and descriptive norms positively affect purchase intention. In particular, perceived behavioral control has a negative influence on alcohol identity but has a positive influence on purchase intention. This study also found that alcohol identity mediates the attitude–purchase intention relationship. By examining the consumption behavior of beer consumers from the TPB perspective, this study contributed to an understanding of beer consumption behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
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Open AccessArticle
Opinions on Insect Consumption in Hungary
Foods 2020, 9(12), 1829; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121829 - 09 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 408
Abstract
The aim of the study was to assess knowledge and opinion in the Hungarian population about the consumption of insect-based food. The questionnaire was filled in by 414 respondents. Their knowledge of edible insect consumption in different countries was average (score 4) or [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to assess knowledge and opinion in the Hungarian population about the consumption of insect-based food. The questionnaire was filled in by 414 respondents. Their knowledge of edible insect consumption in different countries was average (score 4) or above on a scale of 1 (totally disagree) to 7 (totally agree). Their willingness to consume insect-based food was low, usually below average. Significantly higher scores were attained by men than women, by respondents with a university degree than those who graduated from secondary school, and the highest scores were attained by people of 30–39 age group. However, the effects of residence (town or village) and income were not significant. As Hungarians are not traditional insect consumers, there is a significant emotional response of disgust regarding food made from insects and, as insect food is not commercially available, no significant increase in insect consumption is expected in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
Open AccessArticle
Are the Italian Children Exposed to Advertisements of Nutritionally Appropriate Foods?
Foods 2020, 9(11), 1632; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9111632 - 08 Nov 2020
Viewed by 904
Abstract
Unhealthy eating habits are one of the main risk factors for overweight/obesity, and food marketing plays a major role in their development. The aim of this study was to monitor the amount and the characteristics of food marketing directed to Italian children broadcasted [...] Read more.
Unhealthy eating habits are one of the main risk factors for overweight/obesity, and food marketing plays a major role in their development. The aim of this study was to monitor the amount and the characteristics of food marketing directed to Italian children broadcasted on television (TV). The WHO tool to assess food and beverage multimedia marketing aimed at children was used to analyze TV recordings. Type of product branded, viewing time, channel’s target, and broadcasting company were the exposure variables analyzed. The power of persuasive techniques was also assessed. Food products were categorized as either core or non-core products on the basis of their nutritional profile. A total of 320 h of TV broadcasting was analyzed, including 51.7 h of commercials. Food and beverages were the second most frequently advertised products, with an average of 6 food advertisements per hour during peak viewing time. A total of 23.8% of food advertisements were recorded during the time slot of 3:00 p.m. Considering food and beverage commercials, “humor” was the most frequently used primary persuasive technique, while the “image of the product/packaging” was the most commonly used secondary persuasive technique. Products specifically targeted to children were 94.3% non-core. Our findings indicate that core foods are highly underrepresented in TV commercials, especially during children TV programs and peak viewing time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
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Open AccessArticle
How Will We Dine? Prospective Shifts in International Haute Cuisine and Innovation beyond Kitchen and Plate
Foods 2020, 9(10), 1369; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9101369 - 26 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1251
Abstract
Haute cuisine, the cooking style for fine dining at gourmet restaurants, has changed over the last decades and can be expected to evolve in the upcoming years. To engage in foresight, the purpose of this study is to identify a plausible future trend [...] Read more.
Haute cuisine, the cooking style for fine dining at gourmet restaurants, has changed over the last decades and can be expected to evolve in the upcoming years. To engage in foresight, the purpose of this study is to identify a plausible future trend scenario for the haute cuisine sector within the next five to ten years, based on today’s chefs’ views. To achieve this goal, an international, two-stage Delphi study was conducted. The derived scenario suggests that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will lead to significant restaurant bankruptcies and will raise creativity and innovation among the remaining ones. It is expected that haute cuisine tourism will grow and that menu prices will differ for customer segments. More haute cuisine restaurants will open in Asia and America. Local food will remain a major trend and will be complemented by insect as well as plant-based proteins and sophisticated nonalcoholic food pairings. Restaurant design and the use of scents will become more relevant. Also, private dining and fine dining at home will become more important. The scenario also includes negative projections. These findings can serve as a research agenda for future research in haute cuisine, including the extension of the innovation lens towards the restaurant and the business model. Practical implications include the necessity for haute cuisine restaurants to innovate to cope with increasing competition in several regions. Customers should be seen as co-creators of the value of haute cuisine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
Open AccessArticle
Consumers’ Attitude to Consumption of Rabbit Meat in Eight Countries Depending on the Production Method and Its Purchase Form
Foods 2020, 9(5), 654; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9050654 - 19 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1023
Abstract
The study’s aim was to investigate the consumers’ attitude to their preference of rabbit meat in eight countries depending on the production method and its purchase form. In Spain and China almost all factors got low scores. High scores (above 4 out of [...] Read more.
The study’s aim was to investigate the consumers’ attitude to their preference of rabbit meat in eight countries depending on the production method and its purchase form. In Spain and China almost all factors got low scores. High scores (above 4 out of 5) for origin were found in Italy, France, Poland, Hungary and Brazil. The importance of feeding was highlighted in Italy, Poland, Hungary and Mexico. High values were received for housing conditions in Italy, Poland, Hungary and Mexico. The level of processing was the most important in China and Brazil, while the slaughtering method was considered the most important in Brazil and Mexico. Breed received the lowest score in almost all countries. The preference of fresh meat was the highest (above 50%) in Spain, France and Mexico, and that of frozen in Brazil and Mexico (about 20%). The highest preference for a whole carcass (above 50%) was given by the respondents in France and Mexico. Thigh was mostly preferred in France whereas consumers preferred loin in Mexico. Roasted, smoked and semi-finished forms were mostly favored in Mexico. It can be concluded that the preference of respondents depended on the country. Preferences were different among the Mediterranean countries, and also Latin American countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
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