Does the Consumer Sociodemographic Profile Influence the Perception of Aspects Related and Not Related to Food Safety? A Study in Traditional Spanish Street Markets

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Sep 17;18(18):9794. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18189794.


Street food markets are important for local economic development, but they must also meet visitors' demands while operating. Since consumers' trust is based on their perception on different aspects of these markets, the aim of this work was to study which factors most affected their purchase decision criteria. A total of 950 surveys were collected in 21 street markets (Canary Islands, Spain), recording data from the consumers' estimation on food safety-related items (i.e., hygiene conditions of market installations, products, and food handlers) as well as other categories (i.e., prices and staff professionalism). The gathered data let us determine whether sociodemographic consumers variables like age, gender, or education level influenced their perceptions. The scores showed a strong correlation, the subsequent principal components analysis explained 81% of variability only with the first two components. The level of tolerance toward all items underlies in the first component, which was significantly higher for those aged 60 and older, but no significant correlation was found for gender or level of education. The youngest participants were more demanding about food safety-related aspects, while the middle-aged group was more critical of prices. This was especially true of females, who demanded better quality:price ratios. Knowing these preferences could facilitate the development of more effective marketing strategies, helping make street markets more competitive.

Keywords: consumer profile; food safety; principal components; purchase criterion; street markets.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Female
  • Food Safety*
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires