The role of familiarity on the acceptance of ethnic foods
Food choice is a task that needs to be undertaken by individuals on a daily basis, in order to secure an intake of the necessary nutrients that will allow the functioning of our body. However, it is a complex process that englobes several factors that play a role before and after purchase. At the shop, consumers use several cues and attributes to evaluate product quality, which will have an influence on their food choice. In this respect, the understanding of the key drivers involved in consumers food choice is paramount to improve/develop new products that will successfully reflect their needs and requirements.
An interesting personal factor involved in this process is familiarity. It has been related to several product-related experiences such as knowledge, product availability and choice, consumption frequency, and typicality. In the literature, a higher familiarity with the product is linked to a higher understanding of its attributes, which is translated to more informed product evaluations.
Nowadays, globalisation has elicited the positioning of ethnic foods in markets all around the world allowing a higher diversification and promoting the glocalisation. Spring rolls, sushi, tacos, lasagne, among others, are widely known and consumed around the globe, in other words, consumers are familiar to these products. However, many other ethnic foods do not shared the same popularity. In this context, little information is available regarding the perceptions and preferences of consumers for these products and how familiarity influences io the choice of ethnic foods.
This research aims at identifying the key drivers influencing the perceived quality and choice of ethnic foods, specially the role of familiarity, in countries with contrasting levels of globalisation in order to understand how to valorise them via the adaptation of key intrinsic and extrinsic quality cues.