The effects of social trust on consumer perceptions of food safety

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Stephen G. Sapp
Sharon R. Bird
Cite this article:  Sapp, S., & Bird, S. (2003). The effects of social trust on consumer perceptions of food safety. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 31(4), 413-422.


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This study investigated the extent to which social trust affects consumers' food safety opinions. Additionally, it examined the determinants of social trust in governmental agencies and advocacy groups responsible for food safety. It also examined relationships between trust and food safety opinions. The data came from a social survey administered by mail to 289 adults in the Minneapolis/Minnesota metropolitan area. The results show support for a conceptual distinction between food safety worry and concern, which, respectively, reflect emotional and cognitive consumer risk assessments. Social trust significantly affected worry, but not concern. Environmentalism and social-demographic variables had significant total effects, but not significant direct effects, on trust, worry, and concern.

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