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Impact of communication on consumers' food choices.

Authors
  • Verbeke, Wim
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of The Nutrition Society
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2008
Volume
67
Issue
3
Pages
281–288
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1017/S0029665108007179
PMID: 18498672
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Consumers' food choices and dietary behaviour can be markedly affected by communication and information. Whether the provided information is processed by the receiver, and thus becomes likely to be effective, depends on numerous factors. The role of selected determinants such as uncertainty, knowledge, involvement, health-related motives and trust, as well as message content variables, are discussed in the present paper based on previous empirical studies. The different studies indicate that: uncertainty about meat quality and safety does not automatically result in more active information search; subjective knowledge about fish is a better predictor of fish consumption than objective knowledge; high subjective knowledge about functional foods as a result of a low trusted information source such as mass media advertising leads to a lower probability of adopting these foods in the diet. Also, evidence of the stronger impact of negative news as compared with messages promoting positive outcomes of food choices is discussed. Finally, three audience-segmentation studies based on consumers' involvement with fresh meat, individuals' health-related-motive orientations and their use of and trust in fish information sources are presented. A clear message from these studies is that communication and information provision strategies targeted to a specific audience's needs, interests or motives stand a higher likelihood of being attended to and processed by the receiving audience, and therefore also stand a higher chance of yielding their envisaged impact in terms of food choice and dietary behaviour.

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