The Main Aspects of National and International Perception of the Hungaricums among University Students

Péli, László – Némediné Kollár, Kitti – Tóth, Tamás

Keywords: Hungaricum, source protection, domestic and international regulations, university youth consumption habits, Q13

We consider our research topic very timely, because while many research projects have attempted to deal with the analysis of consumer habits and behaviour regarding Hungaricums in the past few years, the majority of these were directed mostly towards the national values of the agricultural and food economy. Hungaricums play an important role in strengthening the Hungarian national identity, in creating an attractive country image and in tying the nation closer together (since 2012, when they became regulated by law). During the current research, students of several segments of Hungarian higher education were asked about the image of Hungaricums. We concluded that the everyday use of the term ‘Hungaricum’ and its meaning has not changed since 2012. Its exact meaning is not, or only modestly known, to students in higher education. Compared to Hungarian students, foreign students were less familiar with the products/values belonging to the group of Hungaricums. The investigation proves the need for more targeted national marketing and the increased visibility. Also, at present, the Hungarian economy is in a difficult situation, since the basic functions of the countryside have been weakened. These basic functions – which are particularly related to agriculture – include keeping the population in the countryside by providing jobs with sufficient income; the preservation and improvement of rural infrastructure; preserving the rural landscape and natural values; the strengthening of sustainable agriculture; and the promotion of tourism and local industries. Preserving and continuing traditions can contribute to reaching these goals. The importance of rural traditions has faded, mostly because of our globalised society, since even in the rural areas, consumer habits are becoming similar to those in urban areas. Therefore, it is not only the importance of subsistence agriculture – which was responsible for a well-maintained rural landscape – that is decreasing, but the rural traditions and crafts are declining (or disappearing) as well. Owing to the these phenomena, the role of initiatives aiming to improve community organisation and individual responsibility, such as the group of Hungaricums and the Hungarian Repository of Values, is vital.