Despite the growing interest in craft food products (CFPs), their social representation remains a conundrum. In light of social representation theory, this study aims to understand the meaning of CFPs in three different countries. Data were collected in Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom from 458 interviewees between November 2018 and January 2019. Using a free word association approach, participants had to state the first four words that came into their mind using “craft food products” as inductor terms. Afterwards, interviewees had to rank the four evoked words based on their importance and rate the valence of each of them. Data were subjected to textual and prototypical analysis to identify the core and peripheral areas of the concept investigated. The occurrence of associations’ frequencies was analysed through correspondence analysis to find possible differences according to age groups. Results showed that the social representation of the CFPs differs across cultures. The British saw them as luxury or gourmet foods. Germans equated them to natural foods relying more on institutional signals. Italians, instead, conceived of them as genuine/authentic foods in which human intervention does not alter the sensorial aspects of the ingredients. Furthermore, results showed that the mental representation of the CFPs is fragile and substantially exposed to the deceptive marketing practices known as “craftwashing”.

Social representations of craft food products in three European countries

Sergio Rivaroli
;
Roberta Spadoni
2021

Abstract

Despite the growing interest in craft food products (CFPs), their social representation remains a conundrum. In light of social representation theory, this study aims to understand the meaning of CFPs in three different countries. Data were collected in Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom from 458 interviewees between November 2018 and January 2019. Using a free word association approach, participants had to state the first four words that came into their mind using “craft food products” as inductor terms. Afterwards, interviewees had to rank the four evoked words based on their importance and rate the valence of each of them. Data were subjected to textual and prototypical analysis to identify the core and peripheral areas of the concept investigated. The occurrence of associations’ frequencies was analysed through correspondence analysis to find possible differences according to age groups. Results showed that the social representation of the CFPs differs across cultures. The British saw them as luxury or gourmet foods. Germans equated them to natural foods relying more on institutional signals. Italians, instead, conceived of them as genuine/authentic foods in which human intervention does not alter the sensorial aspects of the ingredients. Furthermore, results showed that the mental representation of the CFPs is fragile and substantially exposed to the deceptive marketing practices known as “craftwashing”.
Sergio Rivaroli, Jörg Lindenmeier, Martin Hingley, Roberta Spadoni
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/817959
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