Francesco Zecca and Natalia Rastorgueva Pages 19 - 24 ( 6 )
Background: Contemporary food market offers plenty of different food products from all over the world. However, as people have more disposable income, they are more discerning with regards to quality, and certified food has a reputation as being more wholesome and more healthy. In other words, food quality issues become crucial in a consumer's choice. Nevertheless, the question arises – that what should be considered as a food quality, and which quality criteria consumers are ready to pay more? There are many certified products within the variety of agricultural food, and for understanding which products are more preferable for a consumer, it is necessary to know, what do labels mean and what do they guarantee. Absence or lack of this knowledge promotes the information asymmetry between consumers and food producers. Italian traditional food was chosen as an example, due to its crucial meaning for authentical development of the rural areas and particular culture heritage.
Methods: To analyze phenomenon of an information asymmetry within the labeled food market were studied the next theoretical issues: dimensions of traditional food and its labeling; consumer’s behavior and attitudes towards traditional food; features and consequences of an information asymmetry. The empirical side highlights the contemporary tendencies of the Italian quality food market.
Results: As the main reason of information asymmetry is the lack of information for consumers, the paper offers for food producers to use knowledge management as the main tool to smooth an information asymmetry. An implementation of knowledge management includes two directions: development of the appropriate communication strategy and application of the Internet of Things to provide on the food packing the sufficient information for consumers. In that direction, many recent patents have been developed.
Conclusion: The findings of this paper confirm the importance of the literature review for understanding the reasons of an information asymmetry. The offered pathways for reducing of this phenomenon will increase the share of the traditional food products on the Italian food market, thereby sustaining the local producers.
Adverse selection, consumer's attitude, information asymmetry, knowledge management, labelling, traditional food.
University of Rome, La Sapienza, Italy.