Price Fairness of Processed Tomato Agro-Food Chain: The Italian Consumers' Perception Perspective

Foods. 2021 Apr 30;10(5):984. doi: 10.3390/foods10050984.


Food consumers are increasingly searching for emotions and values when purchasing and consuming food. They search for products that ensure social and environmental sustainability, in addition to more common extrinsic product attributes, such as price, packaging, origin, and brand. In particular, there is increasing interest towards product price fairness. The current study aims at exploring consumers' perception and understanding of price fairness, focusing on the processed tomato products agro-food chain. The study interviewed 832 people. Data were collected through an online questionnaire with the support of Qualtrics software, and data elaboration was carried out with Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The elaboration includes an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) to identify existing latent factors in the consumers' perception of enabling agro-food system elements influencing farmers' reception of fair prices. Then, factor mean values were cross-analysed with socio-economic characteristics and processed tomato consumption habits with Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Results support the idea that consumers are limitedly aware of the processed tomato agro-food chain dynamics and consider farmers as the most unfairly remunerated partner. Women and frequently purchasing consumers of processed tomato products believe farmers should be treated more fairly. There is a difference between what consumers perceive as fair price distribution and actual price distribution among processed tomato chain actors. Further studies may focus on how fairness attribute impacts on consumer purchasing behaviour.

Keywords: agriculture; consumer; fairness; food; food chain; price; system dynamics; tomato.