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Food Scares and Consumer Behaviour: A European Perspective


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


In this paper a consumer food choice model based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) is extended to account for risk perception and trust. The data are from a nationally representative European survey of 2 725 respondents from five countries, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The model relates the intention to purchase chicken in an extended TPB framework, which incorporates risk perceptions, and trust in alternative sources of food safety information. This model was run for two behaviours of interest: the standard likelihood of intention to purchase and the likelihood of intention to purchase conditional on news about a salmonella incident. The model has good predictive power and shows distinct country differences. Only in the case of a food scare do risk perceptions and trust come into play. The findings suggest that the government policy priority should be on building and maintaining trust in food and health authorities, and research institutions, while food chain actors could eliminate many of the adverse consequences of a food scare if they could build public trust. Interestingly there is no relationship between socio-demographic variables and the trust placed by consumers in food safety information.

Suggested Citation

  • Mazzocchi, Mario & Lobb, Alexandra E. & Traill, W. Bruce, 2006. "Food Scares and Consumer Behaviour: A European Perspective," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25613, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae06:25613

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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. Lynne, Gary D. & Franklin Casey, C. & Hodges, Alan & Rahmani, Mohammed, 1995. "Conservation technology adoption decisions and the theory of planned behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 581-598, December.
    4. 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.
    5. 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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    More about this item


    food safety information; trust; risk perception; Theory of Planned Behaviour; chicken; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; D80; D12; Q18;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy


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