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Abstract

Major changes have occurred in the agri-food sector, generating new and more complex concepts of food quality. One of the most significant indicators of these changes is market restructuring, in terms of rapid concentration among retailers, the dominance of chain stores and their imposition of cost and quality constraints. Retailers currently play a more important role in ensuring food product quality and safety than public authorities. To analyze this new aspect in the food sector, we carried out a survey on organic strawberry consumption in Italy. This segment of the organic sector is particularly interesting because the conventional strawberry may be considered an unsafe product due to the large use of chemical inputs in the production process. Nevertheless, the demand for organic strawberries demand is fairly low. We attempted to investigate such concerns through a questionnaire-based survey submitted to a representative sample of 318 Italian households. The questionnaire was structured into three areas of information to collect data related to consumer preferences for different characteristics of organic strawberries and psychometric and socio-economic variables. The data were analyzed using a Logit model to derive a demand estimate for organic strawberries. Our first results indicate the presence of a major role played by modern retailers and consumer lifestyles to drive the final demand of high-quality and safe food products.

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