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Consumers’ perception and attitude towards regional “terroir” products: focus on “terroir” cheeses

Issue 3, pp. 229-240


1 CNAOL - 42 rue de Châteaudun, 75314, Paris, France
2 VetAgro Sup, 89 avenue de l’Europe, 63370, Lempdes, France
3 Université Clermont Auvergne, INRA, UMRF, 15000, Aurillac, France
4 CERAQ, 40 rue du Terraillet, 73190, Saint Badolphe, France


Food products origin and specifically “terroir” (regional products) has become a powerful segmentation factor of foods offered to consumers. This article provides a literature review detailing the mechanisms that influence consumer perception and attitude towards “terroir” products with a focus on “terroir” cheeses from organized sectors. After recalling the conceptual framework, this synthesis develops the perceived sources of the “terroir” by the consumer, the contribution of the region of origin and their effects on food quality, on attitude and preference toward the product. This is supplemented by the study of the impact of labels and also the factors impacting perception. The preference for the product depends on the perception of product attributes, which itself is significantly influenced by a specific regional image of the product and the attitude towards the region of origin. The specific image of region of origin products integrates two dimensions whose components are the human factors (time-culture) and factors of the natural environment. The combination of these two dimensions corresponds to a notion of terroir. Its effect is primarily cognitive and specifically to the product (need of congruence) while attitudes toward region of origin have a direct influence on preferences through an affective process. These results vary according to the nature and attributes of the studied products, and they are closely linked to consumers' characteristics. Finally, this article suggests possible marketing actions to support the development of these products consistently with consumers’ expectations.

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