Monday, July 12, 2010


Recent clamor for including "country of origin" information on labels of processed food packs was based on the apprehension by a segment of the consumers regarding the safety of the foods originating from other countries as traceability of the supply chain is fraught with many logistical difficulties. Besides some consumers feel that the carbon foot print of products originating from far away countries could be very high while local products with minimum transportation cause lesser green house gas emission. Though these sentiments are aired by more vociferous critics, the general public does not seem to be sharing such a perception as brought out by a recent survey on the attitude of consumers to such factors in the UK.

"UK supermarket shoppers do not appear to care which country their fresh food items come from, according to research by the University of Otago. Marketing researchers from the university investigated whether the controversial "food miles" concept impacted on supermarket shoppers' food purchasing behaviour. Lead author Associate Professor John Knight said they focused on what actually leads consumers to purchase something instead of just asking consumers their opinion"."Our survey of shoppers exiting supermarkets found that country-of-origin considerations ranked extremely low among the reasons given for why they chose to buy particular fresh food items," he said.

It has been shown by many studies previously that the single most important consideration for the consumer is the price factor and if the products are offered at low cost with safety assured there may not be any reservation in buying such products, all other factors being secondary. Patriotism generally works at times of war or severe national stress, persuading people to buy local products, possibly even at a higher price. The remarkable success of Japanese products during nineteen fifties, sixties and seventies and Chinese products these days is only because of the price factor.


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