Consumer’s stated trust in the food industry and meat purchases

Agriculture and Human Values 29 (4):507-517 (2012)

Abstract

Research indicates that consumers are particularly concerned about the safety of meat. More highly processed meat is perceived as more unsafe than fresh or natural meats, i.e., consumers trust processed meat less. This paper studies the relationship between perceived trust and day-to-day purchase behavior for meat, giving special attention to the degree of meat processing. Controlling for trust in food chain actors and demographic and socio-economic variables, actual meat purchases of Canadian households are linked to answers from a commissioned food attitudes survey completed by the same households. Expenditures for processed and total meat (but not for fresh meat) are significantly different by three levels of trust in the food industry. Consumer with the lowest trust levels consume less (especially of processed meat) compared to those with higher trust levels. However, in a multivariate setting, trust shows no effect on fresh or processed meat purchases with or without demographic and socio-economic control variables, suggesting that the impact of trust on meat purchases is only small. However, the low trusting consumer segment could potentially be a target for marketing strategies focused on reputation and quality to increase sales in this particular group

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