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How trust in institutions and organizations builds general consumer confidence in the safety of food: A decomposition of effects

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Lynn FrewerORCiD


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This paper investigates the relationship between general consumer confidence in the safety of food and consumer trust in institutions and organizations. More specifically, using a decompositional regression analysis approach, the extent to which the strength of the relationship between trust and general confidence is dependent upon a particular food chain actor (for example, food manufacturers) is assessed. In addition, the impact of specific subdimensions of trust, such as openness, on consumer confidence are analyzed, as well as interaction effects of actors and subdimensions of trust. The results confirm previous findings, which indicate that a higher level of trust is associated with a higher level of confidence. However, the results from the current study extend on previous findings by disentangling the effects that determine the strength of this relationship into specific components associated with the different actors, the different trust dimensions, and specific combinations of actors and trust dimensions. The results show that trust in food manufacturers influences general confidence more than trust in other food chain actors, and that care is the most important trust dimension. However, the contribution of a particular trust dimension in enhancing general confidence is actor-specific, suggesting that different actors should focus on different trust dimensions when the purpose is to enhance consumer confidence in food safety. Implications for the development of communication strategies that are designed to regain or maintain consumer confidence in the safety of food are discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): De Jonge J, Van Trijp JCM, van der Lans IA, Renes RJ, Frewer LJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Appetite

Year: 2008

Volume: 51

Issue: 2

Pages: 311-317

ISSN (print): 0195-6663

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8304

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2008.03.008


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