Meeting with consumer and user associations related to the project Interreg Europe Qualify

As part of the 4th semester of the Interreg Europe Qualify project, on 17 February 2021, a virtual meeting took place with consumer and user associations.

The central item of the QUALIFY project in this 4th semester is the food authenticity promotion as a value for consumers. Therefore, the consumer and user associations collaboration was considered opportune with the aim of debating and sharing the consumer’s vision and knowing what are the attributes they value when purchasing food.

Representatives of the Civic Union of Consumers and Housewives of Catalonia Federation (UNAE), the Jointer of Users of Health Care, Health, Consumption and Food (CUS), the Association of Banks and Insurance Companies Consumers and Users of Catalonia (AICEC - ADICAE) and the Consumers Union of Catalonia (UCC), and also of the Catalan Consumer Agency (ACC) and the Sub-Directorate General of Food Safety and Health Protection of Department of Health, and Mr. Juanjo Cáceres, expert in social research in the field of food, took part in the meeting.

The Deputy Director-General of Agri-Food Inspection and Control, Mrs. Glòria Cugat, after welcoming, exposed in broad strokes the Interreg Europe QUALIFY project led by the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food which has partners from La Vienne (France), Bulgaria, Slovenia, Estonia and Thessaly (Greece). This project is an initiative co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project, launched since August 2019, aims to boost the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the agri-food sector through the quality improvement, the food fraud prevention and the authenticity of products promotion.

During the meeting, it was explained that a diagnosis is needed on the consumer's vision and what their main interests are in terms of the information about the food they consume, and, in particular, on the quality and authenticity attributes used by companies as a promotion strategy to be more competitive in the agri-food market.

Therefore, in the context of the QUALIFY project, in the coming months we want to spread a questionnaire that can be used to have this view of the aspects that consumers value most about food.

Questions prepared for this purpose are shared with the participants of the associations and Administration. During the working session, the observations and suggestions provided are collected and incorporated into the final questionnaire, which will be presented in an online format.

Finally, the Deputy Director-General of Agri-Food Inspection and Control requests the collaboration of the associations for spreading the final questionnaire that will be sent soon to their members and through social networks.