Mind & Society

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 59–76 | Cite as

Consumer decision in the context of a food hazard: the effect of commitment

  • Michele Graffeo
  • Lucia Savadori
  • Katya Tentori
  • Nicolao Bonini
  • Rino Rumiati


The European market has faced a series of recurrent food scares, e.g. mad cow disease, chicken flu, dioxin poisoning in chickens, salmons and recently also in pigs (Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera”, 07/12/2008). These food scares have had, in the short term, major socio-economic consequences, eroding consumer confidence and decreasing the willingness to buy potentially risky food products. The research reported in this paper considered the role of commitment to a food product in the context of food scares, and in particular the effect of commitment on the purchasing intentions of consumers, on their attitude towards the product, and on their trust in the food supply chain. After the initial commitment had been obtained, a threat scenario evoking a risk associated with a specific food was presented, and a wider, related request was then made. Finally, a questionnaire tested the effects of commitment on the participants’ attitude towards the product. The results showed that previous commitment can increase consumers’ behavioural intention to purchase and their attitude towards the food product, even in the presence of a potential hazard.


Food hazards Commitment Attitude Trust 



This research was supported by the European Commission, Quality of Life Programme, Key Action 1—Food, Nutrition, and Health, Research Project “Food Risk Communication and Consumers’ Trust in the Food Supply Chain—TRUST” (Contract no. QLK1-CT-2002-02343). Principal investigator of the University of Trento Unit: Prof. Nicolao Bonini. Furthermore, we would like to thank Dr. Luigi Lombardi for his helpful comments on the various statistical analyses.


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Copyright information

© Fondazione Rosselli 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele Graffeo
    • 1
  • Lucia Savadori
    • 1
  • Katya Tentori
    • 1
  • Nicolao Bonini
    • 1
  • Rino Rumiati
    • 2
  1. 1.Decision Research Laboratory, Department of Cognitive and Education SciencesUniversity of TrentoRovereto (Trento)Italy
  2. 2.Department of Developmental PsychologyUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly

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