Between Price and Quality: The Criteria of Food Choice in Romania
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This article investigates the issue of food quality and price as criteria of food choice in Romania. Given the country’s less advantageous economic status, Romania seems an ideal candidate on which to research the potential conflicts between such criteria of food choice. As the analysis is built on data from the Special Eurobarometer 389, some comparative findings are also presented between Romania and the rest of the EU, particularly, the EU-15 and the EU-11 (EU-12 minus Romania) country group. The results show that in Romania the manifest variables of food choice criteria are split into two latent constructs: quality related aspects on one hand and price on the other, while in the majority of other countries price enters the same axis as quality. Thus, on the macro-level it is possible to conclude that Romanians’ food preferences have their roots in two sources and fit a quality vs price model. An investigation of the socio-demographic determinants of these two preference criteria confirms the role of Bourdieu’s distinction regarding the influence of social class on these preferences. In Romania, like in the rest of Europe, the price preference is associated with a precarious socio-economic status, while the preference for quality seems to be a habitus specific to a higher social status. The most salient difference between Romania and the two country groups is that in Romania neither age nor gender and only socio-economic background and place of residence have an influence on the studied preferences.
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