Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 93–103 | Cite as

Climate adaptation of food value chains: the implications of varying consumer acceptance

  • Lilly Lim-CamachoEmail author
  • Anoma Ariyawardana
  • Gemma K. Lewis
  • Steven J. Crimp
  • Simon Somogyi
  • Brad Ridoutt
  • Stuart Mark Howden
Original Article


Despite there being considerable research and knowledge surrounding the risks of climate change on agricultural productivity, fewer studies have examined risks from a whole-of-chain perspective (i.e. from producer to consumer) and the perceptions of consumers about the climate adaptation strategies of food businesses. This paper presents the findings of a survey of 1532 Australian consumers and how they might respond to a food company’s climate adaptation strategy. Three respondent archetypes, ‘Eco-warriors’ (n = 557), ‘Undecideds’ (n = 600) and ‘Abdicators’ (n = 375), were identified based on their perceptions of risks associated with climate change and their attitudes towards climate adaptation. Further analysis was carried out to understand how each group of respondents would respond to adaptation strategies employed by food companies. Based on the findings of this study, two main challenges are presented for food value chains: (1) translating consumer needs and preferences to niche opportunities arising from adaptation and (2) understanding how best to communicate adaptation benefits based on varying attitudes and information needs. By addressing these challenges, synergies between adaptation goals and competitive strategies in food value chains may be achieved.


Australia Adaptation Agriculture Business Consumer perceptions Supply chain 



This project received funding by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture ‘Filling the Research Gap’ Funding Program, Grant No. 1194456-215. We thank Amanda Hawes and Josephine Ung of Colmar Brunton for their data collection services, Prof. Ray Collins, Dr. Anne-Maree Dowd and Dr. Nadine Marshall for internally reviewing this article, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethics approval was obtained from the CSIRO Social Science Human Research Ethics Committee (reference number 080/13). Respondents provided informed consent prior to participating in the survey.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10113_2016_976_MOESM1_ESM.docx (41 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 41 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSIRO Land and WaterPullenvaleAustralia
  2. 2.School of Agriculture and Food SciencesThe University of QueenslandGattonAustralia
  3. 3.Tasmanian School of Business and EconomicsUniversity of TasmaniaNewnhamAustralia
  4. 4.CSIRO AgricultureActonAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Business and Social Sciences, Faculty of AgricultureDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  6. 6.CSIRO AgricultureClayton SouthAustralia
  7. 7.Climate Change InstituteAustralian National UniversityActonAustralia

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