The Importance of Consumer Trust for the Emergence of a Market for Green Products: The Case of Organic Food
Consumer trust is a key prerequisite for establishing a market for credence goods, such as “green” products, especially when they are premium priced. This article reports research on exactly how, and how much, trust influences consumer decisions to buy new green products. It identifies consumer trust as a distinct volition factor influencing the likelihood that consumers will act on green intentions and strongly emphasizes the needs to manage consumer trust as a prerequisite for the development of a market for green products. Specifically, based on a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods, it is found that lack of consumer trust is a barrier for the development of a market for organic food in Thailand. Two focus groups and ten in-depth interviews revealed low knowledge about and low trust in organic food, certification, control, and labeling. Further, a mall-intercept survey (N = 177) revealed that lack of (especially) system trust reduces consumer expectations about benefits of buying organic food, and it makes them less likely to buy organic food. Mistrust in the control system and in the authenticity of food sold as organic has a significant negative impact on self-reported buying behavior. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.