The influence of social values on consumer perceptions of food risks

GIOVE, Samantha (2001). The influence of social values on consumer perceptions of food risks. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Consumers in the twenty-first century present many challenges for managers within the food industry. Consumers are everyday bombarded with choices, making decisions in respect of these involves an element of risk taking. Whilst the consequences of 'bad' choices infrequently prove to be life threatening, the values which collectively constitute a consumer's lifestyle, are potentially threatened by these day to day decisions. Consumers can both support and reinforce their lifestyle and values through selection and rejection of the products and services offered by the food industry. This research recognises that consumers' lifestyles and values differ and investigates the implications of these differences for consumer perceptions of food risk and risk relieving / avoiding strategies for a homogeneous sample of 215 women. An eclectic approach was adopted using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Taylor Nelson's British based Social Value Groups as reported by MacNulty (1985) were selected as the most appropriate framework for value segmentation. A screening instrument was constructed and used to identify members of the Sustenance driven, Outer directed and Inner directed social value groups described by MacNulty (1985). The relationships between these identified social values and perceptions of food risk and risk relieving / avoiding strategies were investigated. The findings support the view that consumers' food risk perceptions and risk avoiding strategies are influenced by their social values. Each of the three groups of consumers presented a specific portfolio of food risk perception and risk avoiding strategies. The perceptions of all three groups are important to understanding consumers' food choices. The Inner directed consumers do however present a set of values and perceptions predicted to increase. Furthermore the Inner directed values question the likely future success of traditional management and marketing strategies in the food industry. This research is the first to provide an insight into how social values influence food risk perceptions and risk avoiding strategies. It provides a platform for beginning to develop strategies for the management of consumers' food risk perceptions. The findings identify the need for further research into Inner directed values, particularly in the context of their implications for the management of food risk perceptions in the future. Similarly findings in respect of risk avoiding strategies need to be explored further. A significantly funded repeat of the research would be necessary to confirm the generalisability of the findings. However from a theoretical point of view it is likely that identified relationships and differences would be apparent in other sectors of the British population.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Daly, Lorna
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2017 16:06
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:52

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