The outputs from this research will contribute to increasing demand in both the domestic and export markets where appropriate through the refining of the product range and the development of added value niche market products. This approach will, it is argued, contribute to an increasing awareness of consumer demand in the agro-food industry of the CCE, the upgrading and modification of production and processing practices, the maintenance of regional varieties and the encouragement of more environmentally sound approach to production.
The principal aim of this research is to examine, in the context of selected CCE countries, the impacts of changing consumer expectation (with regard to the safety and quality of the final commodity) upon the production, processing, distribution and storage of food.
A common research methodology will be developed and applied to a carefully selected range of products which have both regional economic and biological significance. Chosen commodities include both those demanded by the domestic consumer and those thought to have potential export markets in the member states of the European Union.
While the availability of basic foodstuffs remains a concern of certain CCE countries, the reorganisation of the food chain from production to consumption is a focus for them all. The impact of the command economy imposed under communism was to pay regard first and foremost to production with less attention to processing and distribution and scant, if any attention, to retailing and consumer demand. Such an approach resulted in very little, if any, feed-back from the consumer to the food processor and producer.
The transition to a 'westem' style 'market' led approach requires a major reappraisal of the 'drivers' of the agro-food industries of CCE states and in particular of the significance of consumer demand and retail practices which are forcing a commercialisation of agriculture. Such an approach demands a greatly increased 'backflow' of information from consumer to processor and supplier.
Therefore this research programme will identify a limited range of food products of economic significance in the regions adjacent to the Bulgarian (apple, tomato, smoked meats), Hungarian (paprika, tomato, onion, yoghurt, cheese), Polish (blackcurrant, cauliflower, cheese yoghurt) and Romanian (apple, tomato) partner Institutes. Where appropriate attention will be paid to safeguarding and promoting regional/national varieties, breeds and production practices.
The British and German partners will then as the first step work with colleagues from the CCE in implementing consumer appraisal of these products in both the domestic and potential export markets. An analysis of these consumer studies will identify key variables of product composition, quality and safety. These requirements, together with parameters entailed by relevant country and EU specific legislation will determine a detailed review of the production, processing, distribution and storage of these commodities. These it is anticipated will include parameters such as the modification and management of fertiliser and spray regimes, rationalisation of antibiotic use, contamination by heavy metals, pesticides and microbial metabolites, the influence of variety on sensory perceptions, minimising discolouration and other changes during freezing, metabolite accumulation during curing and smoking.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
30 239 Kraków
DN34 5AA Grimsby
10 957 Olsztyn