The first Stength2Food hybrid forum in Hungary was organised by the Hungarian project partner Eco-Sensus Nonprofit on the 22 October 2019 in Szekszárd, a small town 150 km south from Budapest near the Danube, at the premises of the local farmers market. All stakeholder groups of the local food supply chain were invited to the forum, based upon existing relations with Eco-Sensus, which a decade ago developed a regional food quality label as a coloured certification mark, in order to identify and promote local food products in the region.
The participants represented all stakeholder groups: local producers (winemaker, meat producer, vegetable and fruit growers, marmalade maker), local consumers (a member of the local FB consumer community, manager of the local public catering company, restaurant owners), actors of the local tourism (leader of the local youth office, head of the Tourinform Office), officials and market managers from the local government, an official representing the local Agricultural Chamber and a local cultural organisation.
The keynote presentation on the general assessment of food labelling and the importance of local food labels was held by an invited external expert, Mr. Balint BALAZS (Essrg). An animated discussion under the moderation of Peter CSILLAG (Eco-Sensus) ensued. All participants added their views on the topic and explained their own special experiences and opinions from the perspective of their field of activity.
During the discussion several factors affecting the local food system were identified: price sensitivity of the consumers; the supply side is unstable on account of short term profitability problems and disappearing producing traditions; problems of the local market (no real quality control of local products and too short opening hours limiting accessibility); room for co-operations between local production, tourism and restaurants; issues of consumer awareness. The participants agreed that the existing local food label has primarily touristic and local identity importance.
The following hybrid forum will focus on the question: What do Consumers Want and Expect?