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QUALITY POLICY AND CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

Objective

The following points are the main objectives of the research project :

- to identify the consumer expectation of quality, in particular meat quality, and
methods of ensuring that products fulfil those expectations;
- to establish factors that determine success or failure of national and regional
efforts on the institutional and organisational level to manage quality in general
and in the meat production chain;
- thus to identify the mechanisms which might be used to respond
to a decline in meat consumption.

The research project is divided accordingly into three parts :

- an investigation of consumer perceptions and expectations of quality
characteristics and conclusions at the national level;
- an investigation of the institutional and organisational efforts to sustain and
regulate quality in the meat production chain and reaching conclusions about
these efforts at the national level;
- contrasting the given national results, and analyzing the consequences for
Community quality and agricultural policy.

The overriding principle employed in the Commission's legislative harmonisation programme is 'mutual recognition'. The success of this principle will depend decisively on the acceptance by consumers. The knowledge of national consumer perception and expectations seems to be indispensable for rational and successful design of the regulations on the Community level. Consumer's attitude towards meat and meat products in particular is sensitive. Consequently, the research project will concentrate on the meat sector. The regulation process accelerated by the Commission intends to harmonize national rules and efforts to regulate meat quality, but may cause a conflicting objective not intended. The Certificates-of-Origin and the EN ISO 9000-Certification may be used by some Member States to discriminate against foreign supply. The case of Germany gives ample evidence.

Differing national regulations will supposingly reflect different consumer behaviour. While the national regulation process in the United Kingdom is based on the model of mature consumer who gives ample attention to food information, the consumer model underlying the German food regulations is one of a consumer only cursory realizing this information. The research project will contribute to the understanding of national consumer behaviour in the six Member States analyzed. The national consumer behaviour is supposed to create national institutional and organisational efforts and vice versa. This link will be analyzed in detail in the research project. This analysis will be based on the national analysis in the six Member States : Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Italy and Spain.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

GEORG-AUGUST-UNIVERSITÄT GÖTTINGEN
Address
Platz Der Göttinger Sieben, 5
37073 Göttingen
Germany

Participants (5)

SWEDISH UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES
Sweden
Address
Johan Brauners Väg, 3
750 07 Uppsala
Teagasc - Agriculture and Food Development Authority
Ireland
Address
Dunsinea, Castleknock
15 Dublin
UNIVERSIDAD POLITECNICA DE MADRID
Spain
Address
Ciudad Universitaria
28040 Madrid
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PISA
Italy
Address
Via Del Borghetto 80
56124 Pisa
University of Reading
United Kingdom
Address
4 Earley Gate Whiteknights Road
RG6 2AR Reading