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Consumer perceptions of best practice in food risk communication and management: Implications for risk analysis policy


  • Cope, S.
  • Frewer, L.J.
  • Houghton, J.
  • Rowe, G.
  • Fischer, A.R.H.
  • de Jonge, J.


As a consequence of recent food safety incidents, consumer trust in European food safety management has diminished. A risk governance framework that formally institutes stakeholder (including consumer) consultation and dialogue through a transparent and accountable process has been proposed, with due emphasis on risk communication. This paper delivers actionable policy recommendations based on consumer preferences for different approaches to food risk management. These results suggest that risk communication should be informed by knowledge of consumer risk perceptions and information needs, including individual differences in consumer preferences and requirements, and differences in these relating to socio-historical context associated with regulation. In addition, information about what is being done to identify, prevent and manage food risks needs to be communicated to consumers, together with consistent messages regarding preventative programs, enforcement systems, and scientific uncertainty and variability associated with risk assessments. Cross-cultural differences in consumer perception and information preferences suggest a national or regional strategy for food risk communication may be more effective than one applied at a pan-European level.

Suggested Citation

  • Cope, S. & Frewer, L.J. & Houghton, J. & Rowe, G. & Fischer, A.R.H. & de Jonge, J., 2010. "Consumer perceptions of best practice in food risk communication and management: Implications for risk analysis policy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 349-357, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:35:y:2010:i:4:p:349-357

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Branden B. Johnson, 1999. "Exploring dimensionality in the origins of hazard-related trust," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(4), pages 325-354, October.
    2. Ragnar E. Lofstedt, 2006. "How can we Make Food Risk Communication Better: Where are we and Where are we Going?," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(8), pages 869-890, December.
    3. Hunt, Stephen & Frewer, Lynn J., 2001. "Impact of BSE on attitudes to GM food," Risk, Decision and Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(02), pages 91-103, June.
    4. Houghton, J.R. & Rowe, G. & Frewer, L.J. & Van Kleef, E. & Chryssochoidis, G. & Kehagia, O. & Korzen-Bohr, S. & Lassen, J. & Pfenning, U. & Strada, A., 2008. "The quality of food risk management in Europe: Perspectives and priorities," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 13-26, February.
    5. Wentholt, M.T.A. & Rowe, G. & König, A. & Marvin, H.J.P. & Frewer, L.J., 2009. "The views of key stakeholders on an evolving food risk governance framework: Results from a Delphi study," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 539-548, December.
    6. Richard Shepherd & Gary Barker & Simon French & Andy Hart & John Maule & Angela Cassidy, 2006. "Managing Food Chain Risks: Integrating Technical and Stakeholder Perspectives on Uncertainty," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 313-327, July.
    7. Susan Miles & Lynn J. Frewer, 2003. "Public perception of scientific uncertainty in relation to food hazards," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 267-283, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Verbeke, Wim & Rutsaert, Pieter & Barnett, Julie & Gaspar, Rui & Marcu, Afrodita & Pieniak, Zuzanna & Seibt, Beate & Fletcher, Dave & Lima, Luisa, 2014. "Consumers’ Online Deliberation about Food-Related Risks and Benefits: The Case of Red Meat," 2014 AAEA/EAAE/CAES Joint Symposium: Social Networks, Social Media and the Economics of Food, May 29-30, 2014, Montreal, Canada 180069, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Canadian Agricultural Economics Society;European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Gruère, Guillaume P., 2012. "Implications of nanotechnology growth in food and agriculture in OECD countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 191-198.
    3. Bailey, Alison P. & Garforth, Chris, 2014. "An industry viewpoint on the role of farm assurance in delivering food safety to the consumer: The case of the dairy sector of England and Wales," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 14-24.
    4. Gruère, Guillaume & Narrod, Clare & Abbott, Linda, 2011. "Agricultural, food, and water nanotechnologies for the poor: Opportunities, constraints, and role of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research," IFPRI discussion papers 1064, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Petrolia, Daniel R., 2016. "Risk preferences, risk perceptions, and risky food," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 37-48.
    6. Erdem, Seda & Rigby, Dan & Wossink, Ada, 2012. "Using best–worst scaling to explore perceptions of relative responsibility for ensuring food safety," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 661-670.
    7. Devaney, Laura, 2016. "Good governance? Perceptions of accountability, transparency and effectiveness in Irish food risk governance," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1-10.


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