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Sustainable food consumption, involvement, certainty and values: an application of the theory of Planned Behaviour




This study investigates determinants of sustainable consumption behaviour in Belgium. To gain a better insight in sustainable consumption, we conducted a study where sustainable attitudes and behaviour as well as some individual characteristics like involvement, certainty and values related to sustainable products are scrutinized. We explore if determinants as hypothesised by the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) – attitudes, perceived behavioural control, social norms - influence sustainable consumption intention in general and according to different levels of involvement, certainty and values. The empirical research builds on a survey with a sample of 456 young consumers, using a questionnaire and an experimental design with manipulation of key constructs through showing advertisements for sustainable dairy. The stepwise multiple regression showed that 50% of the variance in intention to consume or purchase sustainable dairy was explained by the combination of attitudes, perceived social influences, perceived consumer effectiveness and perceived availability. In addition, different levels of involvement, certainty and value orientation entail different strengths of the determinants. The findings yield public policy and marketing recommendations for stimulating sustainable food consumption among the young.

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Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 05/352.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:05/352
Contact details of provider: Postal: Hoveniersberg 4, B-9000 Gent
Phone: ++ 32 (0) 9 264 34 61
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  1. Faber, Malte & Petersen, Thomas & Schiller, Johannes, 2002. "Homo oeconomicus and homo politicus in Ecological Economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 323-333, March.
  2. P. De Pelsmacker & L. Driesen & G. Rayp, 2003. "Are fair trade labels good business ? Ethics and coffee buying intentions," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 03/165, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  3. Jager, W. & Janssen, M. A. & De Vries, H. J. M. & De Greef, J. & Vlek, C. A. J., 2000. "Behaviour in commons dilemmas: Homo economicus and Homo psychologicus in an ecological-economic model," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 357-379, December.
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