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The sceptical consumer? Exploring views about food assurance

Authors
Journal
Food Policy
0306-9192
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
33
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2008.02.003
Keywords
  • Consumers
  • Uk
  • Food Assurance
  • Scepticism
  • Q Methodology

Abstract

Abstract The problem of trust in food production and regulation has increasingly been raised as a practical and policy issue in recent years and one solution has been to provide more and better information about food production and regulation, especially through food assurance schemes. To look for evidence that this might be successful, this paper uses a small empirical study of how UK consumers think about food information and food assurance claims, using a statement sorting exercise (Q methodology) to identify key factors or shared views. We found that our consumers, despite differences in sociodemographics, gender, diet and shopping habits, tended to share a baseline of scepticism about food information and food assurance claims. We speculate that such scepticism may mean that, rather than providing a solution to the problem of distrust, food assurance schemes may themselves come to be distrusted.

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