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Analysis of the consumer’s perception of urban food products from a soilless system in rooftop greenhouses: a case study from the Mediterranean area of Barcelona (Spain)

Ercilla-Montserrat, Mireia; Sanjuan-Delmás, David; Sanyé-Mengual, Esther; Calver-Mir, Laura; Bandera, Karla; Rieradevall, Joan; Gabarrell, Xavier

Agriculture and Human Values. 38. 4 February 2019. 275-393


Soilless crops are commonly used in rooftop agriculture (RA) because they easily adapt to building constraints. However, acceptance of the produce derived from this system may be controversial. This paper evaluates consumers’ acceptance of food from RA in Mediterranean cities, focusing on the quality of the product, production system, and consumers’ motivations. We surveyed 238 respondents on the UAB university campus as potential consumers. The survey was distributed via an Internet-link that was provided along with a sample of tomatoes from RA. The results showed that most people approved the quality of RA products and perceived them to be local and fresh (94%). The respondents exhibited acceptance of soilless-produced tomatoes and considered them to be environmentally better than conventionally produced ones (69%). Cluster analysis revealed that consumers with high income levels and a university education had a better perception of the quality and proposed a higher price for RA products, but no difference was found regarding their environmental perception of this products. Moreover, people who possessed more information about the product also had a higher perception of the quality and production system (it was perceived to be environmentally friendly) and would pay more for them. The main concerns of consumers were related to food safety and the social impact of RA. Additional research is needed to improve the sustainability of RA, and the applied measures should be communicated to potential consumers to enhance their acceptance and success.