User Researcher, Microsoft Cognitive Services (via Robert Half), Seattle, USA
Research Intern, Infinite Sum Modelling LLC, Seattle, USA
Founder Director, Infinite Sum Modelling LLC, Seattle, USA
The present extensive literature analysis and interview study, with consumers living in Washington state, USA, set out to explore consumers’ perceptions of quality, safety, and transparency and see how these influence shopping preferences. Literature review included global studies which looked at food transparency, safety, quality, food certifications and environmental concerns. The findings indicate that organic foods are often linked to health, nutrition, environmental concerns as well as presence of children, and quality is measured by assessing freshness, taste, nutrition and traceability. Consumers are increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes, expressing willingness to switch to more transparent brands. Additionally, welfare of animals reared for consumption and support for local agriculture is also important to consumers, who are willing to pay more for organic products. However, this willingness also depends on demographic factors, such as gender, educational level, income or age. The results of the interviews yielded similar findings. Participants were guided by subjective perceptions of food quality and concerns driven by personal values and ethical and environmental considerations. Food safety was confusing for almost all of the consumers in this study, with many expecting stores to provide safe foods. The study utilized a concept testing method to evaluate the concept of food transparency and examine how it compares against the established food certifications (organic and free-range). Consumers exhibited trust in organic labels, expecting organic farming to ensure good farming practices and quality of life for animals reared for consumption; however, they were also aware that this trust is based on assumptions. As a result, they were receptive to more accurate and transparent information, that could guide their decisions and give them more certainty. Transparency concept was seen as a useful tool in identifying quality products that align with personal values, such as supporting local food producers, and was received well with consumers in the present study.
Keywords: food transparency, food quality, food safety, ethics, values, environment, agriculture, grocery shopping, food.
JEL Classification: Q0, Q1,Q10, Q11, Q19.
Cite as: Dove, M., Balasubramanian, A., Narayanan, B.G. (2020). Transparency As A Way Of Attaining Quality, Safety And Optimal Food Purchases. SocioEconomic Challenges, 4(4), 48-62. https://doi.org/10.21272/sec.4(4).48-62.2020
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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