The fresh-cut sector has shown a positive trend in recent years, due to the “ease of use” and the increasing innovation in the quality and safety features of these products. However, in Italy, a negative trend was observed during the lockdown Covid-19. The objective of this study is to investigate consumer preferences for fresh-cut products and to identify the sensory and extrinsic attributes that influence consumer choice. It also examines whether consumer behaviour has changed during the lockdown Covid-19. An online questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of 427 consumers. A one-way ANOVA was conducted to identify preferences for specific types of fresh-cut products; then, a factor analysis was conducted to highlight key socioeconomic variables and product attributes. Finally, a cluster analysis was conducted to identify homogeneous consumer groups.
The results indicate that some attributes, including “ease of use”, “texture” and “colour” show a high level of interest and appreciation by consumers. The outcomes also reveal that there has been a change in consumer attitudes during the lockdown Covid-19, mainly for reasons related to the difficulty in food procurement, the fear of contagion during purchasing occasion, and higher prices. The findings of this research contribute to the knowledge of consumers’ behaviour towards fresh-cut products in the period of lockdown Covid-19.