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Country of origin ‐ a consumer perception perspective of fresh meat

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Most commodities consist of hidden qualities that consumers cannot detect by pre-purchase or through normal use. Hence, given that consumers demand such qualities, information has to be communicated to the consumer by some trustworthy party to avoid a "lemons" effect. With respect to food, such qualities can be, for example, animal welfare process standards or long-term health hazards. Previous research has concluded that extrinsic cues such as country of origin (COO) are important in the consumer evaluation process. The paper examines the Swedish market for fresh meat, where COO has been heavily promoted during the 1990s. Swedish consumers have been found to perceive country of origin as an important quality cue. This study examines what factors contribute to whether consumers perceive COO as an important quality cue. Data were collected using random-digit dialling procedures. Interviews were made with the main shopper in households consuming meat. The results indicate that women and consumers with low incomes tend to use COO more extensively than men and consumers with higher incomes. Furthermore, consumers that emphasise the specific credence characteristics of animal welfare, antibiotics and salmonella are more likely to perceive COO as important. Hence, the study provides some support for what has been called the "Swedish model".
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Keywords: Consumer attitudes; Country of origin; Meat; Perceptions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2000

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