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THE SPARTA Model: An Econometric Analysis of Consumer Behaviour under Risk


  • Mazzocchi, Mario
  • Lobb, Alexandra E.
  • Traill, W. Bruce


This paper explores the role of trust in food safety information in determining consumer choice in relation to socio-demographic effects and other determinants. The complexity of factors influencing the way a consumer processes food safety information makes it difficult to develop adequate risk communication strategies. This is, however, a priority for current European policy and this paper tries to answer some key questions: (1) can the consumer be segmented into socio-demographic groups in relation to their trust in food safety information? (2) are country and cultural differences relevant in the way food safety information is processed? (3) how do risk perception and trust in food safety information influence food choice in relation to other determinants? (4) How does a food scare alter the weight of these determinants? (5) How do information sources differ in terms of how they impact on consumers risk perception and behaviours? To provide some answers to the above questions, we propose a modelling framework which extends the Theory of Planned Behaviour to account for risk perception and trust and allows for country-specific effects. The model is tested on the impact of salmonella information on chicken consumption choices across five European countries, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and the United Kingdom, based on a nationally representative survey for a total of 2725 face-to-face interviews. Results show that although no relationship emerges between socio-demographics variables and the trust placed by consumer in food safety information, although country differences are relevant. The findings also suggest that the policy priority should be on building and maintaining trust in food and health authorities, and research institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Mazzocchi, Mario & Lobb, Alexandra E. & Traill, W. Bruce, 2006. "THE SPARTA Model: An Econometric Analysis of Consumer Behaviour under Risk," 99th Seminar, February 8-10, 2006, Bonn, Germany 7763, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae99:7763

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Burton & Dan Rigby & Trevor Young, 2001. "Consumer attitudes to genetically modified organisms in food in the UK," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 479-498, December.
    2. Cook, A. J. & Kerr, G. N. & Moore, K., 2002. "Attitudes and intentions towards purchasing GM food," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 557-572, October.
    3. Andreas B–cker, 2002. "Consumer response to a food safety incident: exploring the role of supplier differentiation in an experimental study," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 29-50, March.
    4. Bryan E. Melton & Wallace E. Huffman & Jason F. Shogren, 1996. "Economic Values of Pork Attributes: Hedonic Price Analysis of Experimental Auction Data," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 18(4), pages 613-627.
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