Authors:István Szűcs, Andrea Bauerné Gáthy, Angéla Soltész, and Laura Mihály-Karnai
Increasing food demand poses a challenge for the economy and places a burden on the environment. In agricultural food production, each product chain stage shows scarce resources and negative environmental impacts are becoming increasingly significant. Food consumption has a significant impact on the environment and on human health. Sustainable food consumption is characterised by health and environmental consciousness. This study focuses on the relationship between perceived and real consciousness – more specifically on environmental and health consciousness – concerning food consumption. Following a concise overview of the conceptual background, the definitions of conscious consumption, conscious food consumption, health conscious consumer and environmentally conscious consumer behaviour are explained based on the available literature. The primary research draws conclusions from the results of a 500-person questionnaire survey among the students attending the University of Debrecen on the relationship between perceived and real health and environmental consciousness regarding food consumption. It was concluded that environmental consciousness (10.0%) was less characteristic of students than health consciousness (18.2%); the relationship between perceived and real consciousness is significant; the role of price in determining food purchases is less pronounced for those claiming to be self-conscious food consumers than those who are neither health conscious, nor environmentally conscious.