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Filippo Sgroi, Fabrizio Piraino and Enrica Donia

The considerable diffusion of ready-to-eat products has focused attention on the reasons for their increasingly prominent success in the market. Although their prices are much higher than the prices of simple raw materials, their consumption has increased rapidly and with no end in sight, a situation that has challenged the conclusions of the classical literature on the importance of price and/or income in consumer decisions. In fact, more recent literature has broadened the classical vision by introducing potential additional variables that could influence consumer choice of certain foods. These variables, however, are not always easy and clear to identify because they reflect the cultural characteristics of a society. For this reason, the French scholar Malassis has introduced the concept of a model of food consumption, which, in fact, stems from a concept of food consumption as driven by factors that are not the same for all the societies that might be studied. Among these variables, regarding the consumption of ready-to-eat products, a factor that certainly acts as a driving force in an increasingly frenetic and dynamic society is the time saving that they are able to provide. Thus, it was considered essential to analyze this in a concrete way, through the variance analysis of a sample of 77 subjects resident in the city of Palermo, noting their characteristics in terms of age, education level, and number of nuclear family members. The results obtained indicate that subjects who consumed ready-to-eat products at a higher frequency belonged to a higher age group, had a higher level of education, and belonged to a family that was not particularly numerous. With these results, it can be stated that the consumption of ready-to-eat products is influenced by people’s need to optimize their available time, considered as a real, scarce resource.

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Filippo Sgroi, Enrica Donia, Mário Franco and Angelo Marcello Mineo

The agri-food sector has changed significantly over the years, moving from a simple production system to a more and more industrialized one. For agents/operators involved in this sector, ensuring product quality and environmental externalities has become the key point to gaining a competitive advantage. In this context, corporate social responsibility (CSR) fits perfectly. This study analyzes the influence of CSR practices on the economic performance of a random sample of 130 agri-food companies in Italy. The results of an analysis of multiple linear regression models show that the economic performance (measured through value added and income) of agri-food enterprises seems to be influenced statistically by workplace CSR practices. Analysis of another model, during which we studied the relationship between income and the CSR practices (independent variables), highlights that operating results (economic performance) can be improved by CSR practices regarding the workplace, environment, and local community. Thus, empirical evidence shows that some CSR practices have positive effects on economic performance, with several implications for theory and practice.

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Filippo Sgroi, Mario Foderà, Anna Maria Di Trapani, Salvatore Tudisca and Riccardo Testa

Cultivation of artichokes for production is significant in the Mediterranean Basin. Italy represents an important productive hub and in this context, Sicily has been one of the foremost production areas. Artichoke production is a stable element of either specialized or mixed production systems in the region. However, due to the economic recession and increasing imports of artichokes from North African countries, many companies are undergoing crisis, with concerns for the negative impact on the socioeconomic fabric, in terms of the rising unemployment an eventual collapse of this specific activity would determine. According to the theory of economic development, a prerequisite of a territory’s development is that its economic enterprises be competitive. Ensuing from this hypothesis, this article analyzes the profitability of artichoke production in the Mediterranean. The study was conducted in Sicily, an island in the heart of the Mediterranean, where its cultivation is a long-standing tradition. Our results showed a low profitability for artichoke cultivation in relation to the unfavorably high production costs, whereas the low market prices also reflect the competition from countries of North Africa.