Consumer Trust in Food Labelling: An Exploration of Certification Schemes for Vegetables in Vietnam

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dc.contributor.advisor Lang, Bodo
dc.contributor.advisor Denise Conroy Truong, Van Anh Thi 2021-10-15T02:56:39Z 2021-10-15T02:56:39Z 2021 en
dc.description.abstract Food is one of the few purchased products that becomes part of our body, therefore consumers’ trust in food is critical to their food purchases. In the increasingly distanced food supply chain, consumers have less control over their food and have to rely on other food chain actors such as food regulators, retailers, and producers to build trust in their food. They also often use food certification as a proxy for food quality and food safety to guide their food purchase behaviour. This thesis is comprised of three papers which study consumer perceptions of different food quality certification schemes in the larger context of the food chain system, and the roles of these perceptions in consumers’ food choices. Data used in these papers were collected using in-depth interviews with 27 Vietnamese participants who were comparable in terms of their awareness of, their ability to afford, and their access to organic food. The three papers are interrelated. Their connection lies in different dimensions of trust in food that influence consumers’ food purchasing behaviour. The first paper focused on the macro view of trust in the entire food system as the main driver for food purchases. The second paper focuses on the elements that form the macro view, which are abstract trust in certification, and interpersonal trust in food chain actors. The third paper focuses on individual certifications to understand how food governance influences these elements of trust across three different certification schemes. Specifically, the first paper explores consumers’ motives and resistance of certified organic food through understanding perceived consumption values of three different buyer groups of organic food. An adaptive approach is used that draws on qualitative interview data and consumption value theory to allow the main findings to evolve from both a theoretical framework and from empirical evidence. The first paper advances research in organic food consumption by showing that trust and distrust in the food system, a much wider concept than trust in food labelling, is a determinant of consumption values of organic food, and therefore a determinant of organic food choice. It also makes a valuable contribution to the organic consumption values literature by showing a clear difference in the importance of perceived consumption values across regular buyers, occasional buyers, and non-buyers of organic food. Furthermore, the paper advances Sheth et al.’s (1991) theory of consumption values by providing a more nuanced understanding of how consumption values can be interrelated. The second paper uses the insights from the first paper and becomes more focused on food certification, individual actors in the food chain, and trust. Specifically, it examines consumers’ perception of food certification and how this perception influences and is influenced by consumers’ trust in food chain actors. In doing so, the second paper extend the literature on trust in food labelling through the inclusion of social-institutional factors in order to understand variations in trust in food. Using social trust theory as a theoretical framework, the paper shows organic food certification is perceived as a representation of the entire food system. Therefore, its trustworthiness is dependent on consumer perceptions of the food system’s capacity to guarantee organic standards along the entire food chain, which is a manifestation of abstract trust. This paper contributes to the trust in food literature by showing that general mistrust and uncertainty in the system may cause mistrust in mechanisms, such as food labelling, that are designed to instil trust. It also extends trust theory by showing interpersonal trust in food actors, such as retailers or growers, can compensate for a lack of abstract trust in certification. Furthermore, the paper enhances our understanding of how abstract distrust in the food system can influence trusting social relationships between people. In this paper, a low level of abstract trust in a wider institutional system leads to distrust in the way the entire food system operates, which in turn, weakens the trusting relationship between consumers and food actors. Lastly, the third paper further explores the differences and similarities of consumer trust in three certifications in relation to consumer trust in the food system and food actors. These schemes represent differences in type (community-based versus third-party) and origin (international versus domestic certification). The paper extends literature in consumer trust in certification by showing how consumers perceive international and domestic certifications, and third-party and community-based certification, differently. Importantly, these differences are significantly influenced by the perceived trustworthiness of food chain actors. It also makes a valuable contribution to the literature by suggesting that consumers utilise their personal relationships differently in purchasing certified vegetables under different certification schemes. Furthermore, the paper extends the food trust literature by providing evidence for the influence of food chain governance - the mechanisms linking growers to retailers - on consumer trust in certified food.
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title Consumer Trust in Food Labelling: An Exploration of Certification Schemes for Vegetables in Vietnam
dc.type Thesis en Marketing The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en 2021-09-06T23:46:21Z
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights en

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