The research investigates the antecedents of trust in information sources and risk management along the food chain and the mechanisms that determine the social diffusion of trust. It focuses on the evaluation strategies brought about by consumers to assess the reliability of the message, the way they process risk information with regards to different food hazards, and the cultural gaps between professional risk managers and laypeople. It examines the interplay of the various psychological, sociological, demographic, and economic factors at individual, market, and social level. The proposal aims at providing a better understanding of consumer demands, attitudes and perceptions, with special reference to trust and risk perception in the food chain, and developing better strategies to communicate more effectively to consumers issues surrounding food risk.
- To contribute to a more in depth understanding of the nature, determinants and processes of social diffusion of trust in food risk information and food risk management, namely regarding BSE and GMOs;
- To evaluate the strategies brought about by consumers to assess the reliability of the message, the way they process risk information with regards to different food hazards, and the cultural gaps between professional risk managers and laymen;
- To assess the economic impacts of different risk communication strategies in the food chain;
- To discuss and communicate research findings with policy makers, risk managers, consumers' organisations, and representatives of farmers and food industries at national and European level, concerning ways to promote more effective and ethically appropriate mechanisms for managing risk information about food related hazards.
Anticipated deliverables of this research project are
- new methods of understanding and assessing consumer trust and risk perceptions in the food chain;
- new concepts for more effective communication with the consumer, and for reinforcing consumer confidence in the safety of the food supply;
- creation of more transparent consensus platforms through the direct involvement of stakeholders
- models of consumer's choice which could eventually facilitate innovation of products.