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Domestically produced food: Consumer perceptions of origin, safety and the issue of trust

By Lobb A.E. and Mazzocchi M.


It is becoming increasingly difficult for the general public to attempt to assess risks using traditional methods such as smell, taste or other physical attributes of food. The existence of extrinsic cues such as the country of origin (COO) of food can help to make food purchase decisions easier for consumers. However, the use of extrinsic cues depends heavily on the extent to which consumers trust such signals to be indicative of quality or safety, which in turn depends on the credibility behind that cue. This paper aims to examine consumers association of domestically produced food with increased food safety standards and the association of COO and food safety information with socio-demographics and other aspects of consumer psychology such as attitudes, risk perception and trust. Using an ordered probit model, domestic production is examined as an extrinsic cue for food safety by looking at the relationship with trust in food safety information provided by national food standards agencies (NFSAs) and other socio-demographic characteristics, based on nationally representative data from 2725 face-to-face interviews across five European countries. Results suggest that domestic production of food is an extrinsic cue for food safety and as consumers place increasing importance on food safety they are more interested in food produced in their own country. This, coupled with consumer trust in a strong, and independent national food standards agency, suggests the potential exists for the increased consumption of domestically produced foods

Year: 2007
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