Exploration of heritage food concept

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Background: Heritage food has gained attention and recognition by locals as a cultural identity and by tourists as a new food experience. Two important intrinsic quality attributes of heritage food encompass safety and authenticity. As heritage food dishes are prepared in foodservice establishment, it entails requirements on ensuring safety and authenticity of heritage food. Scope and approach: The study aims to conceptualise heritage food and identify risk factors that may compromise safety and authenticity. A semi-structured literature review was conducted to explain the heritage dimensions and to evaluate multiple food concepts relating to heritage to define the heritage food concept. Furthermore, risk factors were inferred from the literature that could compromise the safety and authenticity of heritage food. Key findings and conclusions: Three main heritage dimensions identified from literature are legacy, people and place. Based on the evaluation against the three heritage dimensions, traditional food was mostly linked to the legacy and place dimensions. Ethnic food was typically related to the dimensions people and legacy, whereas for local food the dimension place was most dominant. Literature showed that all dimensions seem to be relevant for heritage food, but the number of definitions available in the literature is still limited. Therefore, it is not yet clear if all dimensions are equally important. Furthermore, a framework was developed with the identified authenticity risk factors, which originated from literature about ethnic, local and traditional food. The identified safety risk factors are common in the foodservice sector. The framework needs to be further validated through studies with stakeholders in heritage food production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-797
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Early online date8 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Authenticity
  • Ethnic food
  • Heritage dimensions
  • Heritage food
  • Safety
  • Traditional food


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