Year of Publication

2009

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Sayed Saghaian

Abstract

Food safety events receive substantial media coverage and can create devastating economics losses for agribusiness firms. It is unclear what factors influence consumers’ purchasing decisions before or after a food safety event occurs. The objectives of this study is to identify these factors that influence purchasing decisions, determine how consumers respond to hypothetical food safety events, and compare these findings across different products and geographical regions. The data for this research was obtained from two surveys. One survey concerned fresh produce while the second focused on meat products. The SPARTA model, based on the Theory of Planned Behavior, is used to determine the impact of probable factors that influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. The result of this research suggests that consumers have clearly-defined levels of trust regarding sources of food safety information. In general, a food safety event occurring in the fresh produce market seems to affect purchasing decisions more than the same event occurring in the meat market. Comparison of findings across geographical regions is less clear. Agribusiness firms can use these results to form a base strategic response plan for food safety events.

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