Piedmont’s traditional food products: an investigation of the communication between producers and tourists
This study examined food tourism and the communication of producers to tourists. The main aim and objectives were to investigate what the producers want to communicate, how they engage with tourists, what the motivations behind the communication are, and also the impacts and the consequences of their activity. A qualitative methodology was used, as it was considered appropriate for social research involving human experience, in that it provides descriptions of the respondents’ world. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were chosen in order to capture the rich diversity of data of the subject researched. The interviewees were ten producers of cheese and hazelnuts, in the Italian context of the region of Piedmont, and the responses were analysed to investigate their communication to tourists. Five main themes and five subthemes emerged from the interviews, and the key findings were in line with the existing literature. It appeared that communication revolves around authenticity of the activity of the farm, quality of the product, and territory and its traditions. Findings suggested that communication is carried out through the creation of experiences: visitors are shown around the business and are explained the various processes during a visit. Responses highlighted that producers communicate for different reasons and undertake tourism activities as they have economic advantages or visibility, as they want to educate customers, because they think it is important for place development, or to create a connection with people. The analysis built on previous studies about food tourism that are focused on tourists’ opinions, but it analysed the point of view of producers (Boniface 2003, Autio et al. 2013, Privitera et al. 2018).