This study investigates how university students perceive food quality and attempts to demonstrate how the individual lifestyle is a useful variable for segmentation purposes. Using data from an online questionnaire on a sample of 1138 Italian university students, the study reveals that there are two dominant factors influencing the food choice behaviour of young students, that is, food convenience and food certifications, and two main factors affecting the food store selection, that is, food disposability and store convenience. These variables make considerable contributions in characterising four clusters of young consumers, namely healthy and certified food consumers, comfortable consumers, saver consumers and innovative consumers. The findings provide a more comprehensive understanding of why young consumers buy foods, what they believe food quality is and how their perception of food quality affects their buying behaviour. This is critical for marketing researchers and practitioners to define marketing programmes fitting the food demand of a growing fast segment of the market.
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