In the food market, an excess of supply over demand exists. This state of imbalance prompts food manufacturers to study consumer criteria for choosing food in order to meet consumer requirements, and, thus, to successfully compete in the food market. The objective of this paper was to determine the preferences and food choice criteria on the basis of the survey results conducted among consumers in the region of South-East Poland. It was found that when choosing food, the consumers checked, in the first place, the expiration date (93.7 % of the responses), next: price (63.6 %), and composition of food product (62.2 %). The level of consumer interest in information on whether or not the product was produced in accordance with the principles of HACCP/ISO 22000 (11.9 %) was very low. The women were interested in the composition of food more often than men: 69 % of all the women participating in the survey chose that answer (p = 0.05). The respondents – graduates of universities (51.1 %) paid attention to that particular element shown on the food label more often than other respondents. The composition of food was more important for the city residents surveyed than for the rural residents. The composition of a food product was particularly important for the persons living in the households with a monthly income of more than net 1,600 zł per person. The respondents from the households with incomes not exceeding 800 zł regarded this element on the food label as the least important for them. For those consumers, the most important factor to impact their food purchase was the price in the first place. The women surveyed (76.5 %) paid more attention to the information on whether the product was produced in accordance with the principles of HACCP/ISO 22000. The respondents aged above 40 (38.2 %) regarded this information to be important for them.
food choice, preferences, price, composition of food product, expiration date