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Abstract

The main aim of the article is to identify issues and analyze the affordability of dairy products at the local retailers in all regions of Slovakia. The main objective of the study is investigation of the availability of local dairy products in farms stores, and comparison of the prices of dairy products at the local stores with the prices of Slovakian products on the shelves of the selected major retailers. The European Union’s efforts are to support rural development, including farmers at local, regional and national levels. Our assumption is that specialized local stores offer mainly high cost and high quality products from the region and retail chains offer products from major Slovak dairy processors. The authors analyzed the relationship between the type of specialized store, region and demand for local dairy products using methods of Chi-Square Test of Independence and the Kruskal-Wallis test. The second part of the survey consisted of interviews to find out what the owners or operators of local farm stores are having problems with. The obtained data were collected from 67 local and farm stores. The stores which offered dairy products were compared with three selected major retail chains from the Slovak market. The survey showed the results that point to consumers’ low awareness of the importance of purchasing local products, customer inability to buy these products, the inability to compete with the retail chains or higher price and weak link between specialized stores and local farmers. If the prices of dairy products in local stores are higher, the availability of products is weaker, this situation is creating space for a short food supply chain which, by reducing the number of intermediaries and using innovative tools, can scale down the price of the product and increase consumer interest. Study shows that even customers are increasingly interested in local dairy products which they are buying in specialized stores, stores have problems with direct availability of farm products. Another problem which this study confirms is the price competitiveness of the retail chains, which is directly related to the consumer behaviours of buying products which are produced and processed in the region.

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