Can information drive demand for safer food? Impact of brand-specific recommendations and test results on product choice

Sarah Wairimu Kariuki*, Vivian Hoffmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As an unobservable attribute, food safety is likely to be under-provided by markets where regulatory enforcement is weak. In such settings, stimulating consumer demand for safer food can potentially encourage market actors to invest in food safety. Through a randomized trial in Kenya, we test the impact of informing consumers about which maize flour brands are most likely to comply with the regulatory standard for aflatoxin, a carcinogenic fungal byproduct. Providing information on safer brands alone does not significantly affect consumption behavior. However, when the same information is combined with a test performed on the maize flour stocked by the household, the likelihood that a safer brand is consumed 2 months later is 76% higher than in the comparison group. Our findings suggest that providing information on the relative riskiness of substitute foods could encourage consumers to make safer choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-467
JournalAgricultural Economics (United Kingdom)
Volume53
Issue number3
Early online date17 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Keywords

  • aflatoxin
  • consumer behavior
  • D12
  • D82
  • food safety
  • I12
  • information
  • LMIC

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