Special Issue "Sustainable Food Consumption Practices: Insights into Consumer Experience"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Food".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Giuseppina Migliore
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, 13—Ed. 4, 90128, Palermo, Italy
Interests: consumer studies, alternative food network, local food consumption, sustainable food consumption

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

It is my pleasure to extend this invitation to potentially interested researchers in the field of sustainable consumption. In recent years, the increasing consumer concern towards food safety, environmental sustainability and social justice issues have stimulated new consumption practices more oriented towards social, economic and environmental sustainability (Migliore et al., 2015; Graziano and Forno, 2012).

These include the growing consumers' preferences towards organic food, local food, and other sustainable foods and beverages consumption (Galati et al., 2019; Feldmann and Hamm, 2015), as well as the spread of alternative distribution chains, which emphasize the short-distance transportation of food and the direct relationship between consumers and producers (Hashem et al., 2018).

In addition, these sustainable consumption practices seem also to involve tourist destination choices (Cucculelli and Goffi, 2016), rural tourism and gastronomy interest (Green and Dougherty, 2008).

This Special Issue aims to contribute to the literature on sustainable consumption practices by enriching discussions on consumers experiences and by emphasizing the motivational and demographic factors as well as the cultural and situational factors that guide consumer behaviour towards these practices.

Dr. Giuseppina Migliore
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1900 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

  • Local food
  • Organic food
  • Sustainable food and beverages
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Rural tourism
  • Alternative food networks
  • Consumer behaviour.

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Plant Protein and Plant-Based Meat Alternatives: Consumer and Nutrition Professional Attitudes and Perceptions
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1478; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031478 - 01 Feb 2021
Viewed by 566
Abstract
Plant-based and flexitarian eating patterns are increasingly popular, and the food supply system has responded with a wide range of convenience products despite a lack of understanding regarding consumer views. The aim of this study was to explore consumer and nutrition professional (NP) [...] Read more.
Plant-based and flexitarian eating patterns are increasingly popular, and the food supply system has responded with a wide range of convenience products despite a lack of understanding regarding consumer views. The aim of this study was to explore consumer and nutrition professional (NP) perceptions and attitudes to plant protein, including plant-based meat alternatives (PBMA) within an Australian context. Using an online survey promoted via social media, 679 responses (89% completion rate), achieved an even spread across key age groups. A total of sixty percent reported following a special diet, with 25% vegan and 19% flexitarian. ‘Health’ was a key driver for diet type among the NPs (53.3%) and they were less likely to follow a special diet, while “ethical” reasons were cited by consumers (69%). Plant-based eating was considered a vegan dietary pattern and the most frequently consumed plant-based proteins were whole grains. Most (74%) had tried PBMA, but they were more frequently chosen by consumers, with burger patties then sausages and mince selected as a ‘trendy’ choice; taste was very important across both groups. Products mimicking chicken and fish were of less interest. Plant-based claims were observed by 78% but these were also of greater interest to consumers. Participants reported looking for whole ingredients and iron content and expected that both iron and vitamin B12 would be comparable to red meat. Sodium was the nutrient of greatest interest to NPs and, together, these results help inform the direction for product innovation, while also highlighting the need to assess the adequacy of the dietary pattern when promoting sustainable plant-based eating. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding Consumers’ Convenience Orientation. An Exploratory Study of Fresh-Cut Fruit in Italy
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1027; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031027 - 20 Jan 2021
Viewed by 274
Abstract
In Western society, the fresh-cut fruit market is experiencing significant growth, especially in Italy, where, in 2019, the fresh-cut fruit sales volume increased by 35% compared with the previous year. This study aims to understand Italian consumers’ demand for fresh-cut fruits and to [...] Read more.
In Western society, the fresh-cut fruit market is experiencing significant growth, especially in Italy, where, in 2019, the fresh-cut fruit sales volume increased by 35% compared with the previous year. This study aims to understand Italian consumers’ demand for fresh-cut fruits and to explore whether this trend is also affected by the prevalence of healthy lifestyles. Health orientation seems, in fact, to be a growing trend in the food sector. Research has recognized that consumers’ orientation towards products that are ready to be consumed is not only related to saving time. Sociodemographic factors and psychometric variables, including values and lifestyles, play important roles in understanding consumer demand for convenience products. For this purpose, the food-related lifestyles (FRLs) tool was used to profile consumers. The FRLs tool is a useful instrument that describes different ways in which people use food to achieve their values in life. Data were collected by using an online survey carried out with Italian consumers of fresh-cut fruits. By using a cluster analysis technique, four Italian fresh-cut fruit consumer target groups were identified. The largest target group was represented by uninvolved consumers, who are not inclined to cook or plan meals and who are very influenced by the advertising of food products in their buying decisions. An interesting target group, which may represent a challenge for food enterprises in the sector, was health-oriented consumers, who attach great importance to organic certification and to product information. This target group was also characterized by older consumers with higher net monthly household incomes than other target groups. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Role of Seaweed in Diets of Samoa and Kiribati: Exploring Key Motivators for Consumption
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7356; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187356 - 08 Sep 2020
Viewed by 568
Abstract
Edible seaweeds have significant potential to contribute to sustainable diets that promote health of Pacific Islanders in ecologically, economically, and socially acceptable ways. No studies to date have investigated motivators for and the consumption of edible green seaweed from the genus Caulerpa (sea [...] Read more.
Edible seaweeds have significant potential to contribute to sustainable diets that promote health of Pacific Islanders in ecologically, economically, and socially acceptable ways. No studies to date have investigated motivators for and the consumption of edible green seaweed from the genus Caulerpa (sea grapes) in Samoa and Kiribati. An observational, cross-sectional study utilized an interviewer-administered questionnaire to explore consumption behaviors and the role of sea grapes in the current diets of individuals in Samoa and Kiribati. Of the total 145 participants (n = 79, 54.5% Samoa; n = 66, 45.5% Kiribati), half (n = 76, 52%) reported consuming sea grapes. A significantly greater proportion of Samoans (n = 56, 70.9%) reported consumption than I-Kiribati participants (n = 20, 30.3%). A greater proportion of consumers were male (n = 47, 61.8%). Samoan consumers reported consumption of sea grapes with a higher diversity of foods and being related to traditional events or ceremonies. Motivators for consumption varied between countries, with Samoan consumers reporting strong agreement for taste and value for money, and identified sea grapes as nutritious food, as influences on consumption. Easy access was a motivator in Kiribati only. The findings of this study are underpinned by the degree of food security and differences in culture in Samoa and Kiribati. Future public health efforts to integrate traditional fresh food into local food systems will need to work within the existing social parameters in each respective country. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Organic Food Consumption: The Relevance of the Health Attribute
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 595; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020595 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1815
Abstract
During the last decades, organic food products have become the main sustainable alternative to conventional food consumption. Among the several organic food attributes that consumers recognize in organic food, healthiness has been reported as the primary motivation to buy products certified as organic. [...] Read more.
During the last decades, organic food products have become the main sustainable alternative to conventional food consumption. Among the several organic food attributes that consumers recognize in organic food, healthiness has been reported as the primary motivation to buy products certified as organic. The objective of the current study is to assess the relative weight of the health attribute among other recognized organic food attributes. To achieve this aim, a multiple price list (MPL) methodology is adopted to elicit consumers’ Willingness to Pay (WTP) for organic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Findings show that the contribution of the health attribute to determine the average premium price for organic EVOO is 78.9% of its total premium price. The study generates managerial implications to promote further expansion of the organic food market. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Consumers Demand for Social Farming Products: An Analysis with Discrete Choice Experiments
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6742; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236742 - 28 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 920
Abstract
This paper analyses the demand for social farming (SF) products. In particular, we investigate the preferences of consumers who buy their products from large retailers, rather than from solidarity purchasing groups or other niche markets using a sample of 225 consumers. In this [...] Read more.
This paper analyses the demand for social farming (SF) products. In particular, we investigate the preferences of consumers who buy their products from large retailers, rather than from solidarity purchasing groups or other niche markets using a sample of 225 consumers. In this regard, a discrete choice experiment (DCE) was carried out to estimate the willingness to pay (WTP) a premium price for the purchase of a common product (i.e., eggs) from farms that employ disabled people. The attributes considered in our DCE design are the employment of disabled people and two additional attributes which may have ethical implications for the choices. The results indicate that consumers are interested in buying SF products, with about 74% of the sample willing to buy the eggs produced by social farms and the average WTP being equal to €1.36 for a pack of six eggs. Moreover, the average WTP for the use of labour of disabled people attribute amounted to €0.69 for a pack of six eggs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Determinants of Consumers’ Retention and Subjective Well-Being: A Sustainable Farmers’ Market Perspective
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6412; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226412 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 622
Abstract
Farmers’ markets have received much attention in many countries, and the amount of research on farmers’ markets is gradually increasing. The consumption process of consumers at farmers’ markets include both economic and social aspects, but most past studies have only focused on a [...] Read more.
Farmers’ markets have received much attention in many countries, and the amount of research on farmers’ markets is gradually increasing. The consumption process of consumers at farmers’ markets include both economic and social aspects, but most past studies have only focused on a single aspect. The economic perspective mainly focuses on transaction issues such as purchase motives, quality, satisfaction, purchase behavior, and post-purchase behavior, whereas the social perspective focuses on the social relations and psychological feelings created when consumers go to markets. This study aimed to integrate the economic and social perspectives and analyze the relationships among product performance evaluation, relational capital, repurchase intention, and subjective well-being of consumers at farmers’ markets after their purchase experiences. I chose three recurrent farmers’ markets in Taiwan, obtained 358 valid samples, and performed structural equation modelling analysis. The results indicated that the economic product performance exerted a significant and positive influence on repurchase intention, but its influence on subjective well-being was not significant. In contrast, the social relational capital was found to be a positive and significant factor of both repurchase intention and subjective well-being. On the whole, relational capital is more important than product performance. The suggestions for practice were as follows. First, farmers’ markets have economic and social value and are thus worth being promoted by government agencies. Second, the managers of farmers’ markets should implement a set of management mechanisms to ensure product performance and also create a market atmosphere that facilitates social interactions between farmers and consumers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Process of Ethnocentralizing the Concept of Ecological Agroalimentary Products for the Romanian Urban Consumer
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6226; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226226 - 07 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1437
Abstract
In the case of the Romanian urban consumer, ecological agroalimentary products do not merely operate on the discursive line mapped by the rules of certification. The ecology of the agroalimentary products is reinterpreted and, thus, an interesting phenomenon occurs. The products perceived as [...] Read more.
In the case of the Romanian urban consumer, ecological agroalimentary products do not merely operate on the discursive line mapped by the rules of certification. The ecology of the agroalimentary products is reinterpreted and, thus, an interesting phenomenon occurs. The products perceived as natural, local, or peasant are seen as ecological enough to influence the purchase decision. Hence, according to the Romanian urban consumer, the ecological product stands for a symbolic projection provided by their own experience and trust level as a consumer. In the present paper, we aimed to go beyond the theory claiming that such behavior is determined by confusion in the social action of purchase and, following this line of interpretation, we also intended to identify the symbolic systems and hermeneutical criteria by which the Romanian urban consumer makes a social projection of ecological agroalimentary products through certain ethnocentralizing mechanisms. Our research paper was based on a qualitative and quantitative anthropological analysis that had, as a starting point, a questionnaire applied online (with a total of 1792 respondents, out of which 1342 were urban respondents). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Important Influencing and Decision Factors in Organic Food Purchasing in Hungary
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6075; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216075 - 01 Nov 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1060
Abstract
Organic farming is one of the most developed and accepted production systems from the aspect of sustainability. In this study, the Hungarian organic market was segmented on the basis of attitude-relating motivations of organic food purchasing. A descriptive statistic was used for the [...] Read more.
Organic farming is one of the most developed and accepted production systems from the aspect of sustainability. In this study, the Hungarian organic market was segmented on the basis of attitude-relating motivations of organic food purchasing. A descriptive statistic was used for the whole sample, and factor and cluster analysis was applied to segment the organic consumers. A sample of 247 questionnaires was processed to investigate the behavior and characteristics of Hungarian organic food consumers. Our aim was to explore the Hungarian organic consumer market from the aspect of trust in labels, we would like to find answers to the questions “Which kind of information consumers check on the product?” and “What are the main influencing factors of purchase decisions?”. According to our research, the majority of organic food consumers say that color is not as important as taste or freshness, so they do not associate the color of the product with the freshness of the product. Based on the factor analysis, four clusters could be separated that show different shopping motives and differ in their attitude towards food shopping. We named these clusters: Health-conscious, Disappointed, Safe and free food eaters, and Quality-price comparators. Based on the recognized consumer segments, different information should be communicated to consumers so that they can use it in their consumer decisions. Our research suggests that branding or product labeling is not as important to organic food consumers as we previously thought. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Culinary Tourism Experiences in Agri-Tourism Destinations and Sustainable Consumption—Understanding Italian Tourists’ Motivations
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4588; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174588 - 23 Aug 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1816
Abstract
Culinary tourism represents an emerging component of the tourism industry and encompasses all the traditional values associated with the new trends in tourism: respect for culture and tradition, authenticity and sustainability. Italy is known worldwide for the richness and variety of its gastronomy, [...] Read more.
Culinary tourism represents an emerging component of the tourism industry and encompasses all the traditional values associated with the new trends in tourism: respect for culture and tradition, authenticity and sustainability. Italy is known worldwide for the richness and variety of its gastronomy, and agri-tourism represents one of the most important places where culinary tourists can experience local food and beverages. By using a modified version of Kim and Eves’ motivational scale, the present study aims to investigate which motivational factors affect the frequency of culinary tourists to experience local food and beverages in agri-tourism destinations. The findings of the present study reveal that the social and environmental sustainability, among the other motivations, has shown to play a crucial role in influencing Italian tourists’ frequency to experience local food and beverage in agri-tourism destinations. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Sustainability in the Beverage Industry: A Research Agenda from the Demand Side
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010186 - 28 Dec 2020
Viewed by 553
Abstract
Sustainability has become one of the most important challenges for the beverage industry over the last few decades. In fact, many producers have implemented environmental, social, or economic aspects of sustainability at several stages of their production process. One of the reasons that [...] Read more.
Sustainability has become one of the most important challenges for the beverage industry over the last few decades. In fact, many producers have implemented environmental, social, or economic aspects of sustainability at several stages of their production process. One of the reasons that might explain this interest in sustainability is that consumers are changing their behavior to integrate sustainable and environmental considerations into their purchase behavior. Accordingly, some consumers’ purchasing decisions are based not only on how well products satisfy their needs but also on how these products affect the environment or society at large. Within this context, designing appropriate interventions to fostering sustainable consumption requires deeper knowledge about its underlying determinants. In this paper, we focus on some of the most important challenges that might drive future research within this area. Full article
Open AccessReview
Local Entrepreneurship in the Context of Food Production: A Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010424 - 06 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1256
Abstract
Local food production is meaningful not only for a single producer but also for the consumer, and finally for the entire region. Therefore, it would be beneficial to take up the issue of local entrepreneurship in the context of food production. The aim [...] Read more.
Local food production is meaningful not only for a single producer but also for the consumer, and finally for the entire region. Therefore, it would be beneficial to take up the issue of local entrepreneurship in the context of food production. The aim of the study was to analyze important terms, research topics, and research results related to the issue of local entrepreneurship in the context of food production. Literature review revealed definitional discrepancies related to the subject of the study. Thus, the need to create an unambiguous definition of local food and local entrepreneurship was emphasized. Own definitions of these issues were provided. Most of the available publications are devoted to local food produced in selected countries. In the analyzed research papers, the problem of local food is most often correlated with marketing or health-promoting properties of local food. A research gap was identified: suggestions were made in regards to the research problems worth bringing up in empirical research in the interest of activating local entrepreneurship. Full article
Open AccessReview
Understanding Attitudes towards Reducing Meat Consumption for Environmental Reasons. A Qualitative Synthesis Review
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6295; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226295 - 08 Nov 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2455
Abstract
Meat-based diets are the norm in Western societies. This is a problem because meat production is a major contributor to global warming and environmental degradation. Despite the urgency to reduce meat consumption, quantitative studies have shown that there is only a small minority [...] Read more.
Meat-based diets are the norm in Western societies. This is a problem because meat production is a major contributor to global warming and environmental degradation. Despite the urgency to reduce meat consumption, quantitative studies have shown that there is only a small minority of consumers aware of the meat environmental impact, willing to halt or reduce meat intake for ecological reasons, or who have already stopped or reduced meat consumption because of environmental concerns. We conducted a qualitative synthesis reviewing studies that looked at attitudes towards changing meat consumption. Our focus was on the behavioral change process: Awareness, willingness, and change, aiming to enhance the current understanding of people’s attitudes towards reducing meat consumption due to environmental concerns. The studies reviewed show that consumer awareness is hindered by beliefs about food, meat, and personal behavior. Nutrition, health, and taste were found to be both enablers and barriers with regard to willingness. Vegetarians and vegans perceive the environment as simply another reason, among others, to maintain a meatless diet. Based on these results, we offer recommendations for future dietary public health interventions, and for future research endeavors on this topic. This review employed a meta-aggregative approach and partially followed the Joanna Briggs Institute methodology for systematic reviews of qualitative evidence. Full article
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