Consumer Responses to Integrated Risk-Benefit Information Associated with the Consumption of Food

H. van Dijk, A.R.H. Fischer, L.J. Frewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The risk analysis of the health impact of foods is increasingly focused on integrated riskbenefit assessment, which will also need to be communicated to consumers. It therefore becomes important to understand how consumers respond to integrated risk-benefit information. Quality-adjusted-life-years (QALYs) is one measure that can be used to assess the balance between risks and benefits associated with a particular food. The effectiveness of QALYs for communicating both positive and negative health effects associated with food consumption to consumers was examined, using a 3×2 experiment varying information about health changes in terms of QALYs associated with the consumption of fish (n = 325). The effect of this information on consumer perceptions of the usefulness of QALYs for describing health effects, on risk and benefit perceptions, attitudes, and intentions to consume fish was examined. Results demonstrated that consumers perceived QALYs as useful for communicating health effects associated with food consumption. QALYs communicated as a net effect were preferred for food products associated with negative net effects on health, while separate communication of both risks and benefits may be preferred for food products associated with positive or zero net health effects. Information about health changes in terms of QALYs facilitated informed decision making by consumers, as indicated by the impact on risk and benefit perceptions as intended by the information. The impact of this information on actual food consumption choices merits further investigation. KEYWORDS: Consumers; QALY; risk-benefit communication
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-439
JournalRisk Analysis
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • fish consumption
  • planned behavior
  • caught fish
  • health
  • perception
  • attitudes
  • impact

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