Effects of Food Labelling in Consumer Decisions – Highlighting Traceability Information

Füzesi, István – Gyarmati, Ádám – Lengyel, Péter – Felföldi, János

Keywords: food safety, traceability, willingness to pay, consumer attitudes, food marketing, Q13, Q16

Food safety problems and high-risk alert cases in the media have increased consumer awareness in Hungary and in Europe generally. Therefore, the existence or absence of food security can be a major limitation of global trade. However, nowadays there is an increasing number of consumers who demand more information about the origin of food. In our research we sought to find out whether trust in a product’s manufacturer, certification (trademark), or detailed tracking information is most likely to increase acceptance and sales of a product. In addition, we investigated the level of (detailed) tracking data requested by the Hungarian consumers who are willing to pay higher prices for tracking beyond the law. Our results, based on primary consumer surveys using 664 responses, show that consumers are mostly unaware of product tracking concepts and have limited knowledge concerning the product chain. This is because product traceability is often identified with food safety, and a high proportion of consumers doubt the reliability of the information provided. The development, construction and operation of an integrated information system that satisfies the consumer needs is a serious investment which cannot be realised from the 10% extra charge on products that consumers consider acceptable. Consequently, such a service can only be successful if it is associated with other extra functionality. Based on our findings, we can conclude that trust in the trademark or in the manufacturer is more important than the accurate and ongoing availability of tracking data.

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