Purpose This study aims to reveal the implications that trust, as a key driver of consumer behaviour, might have on consumer acceptance of front-of-pack labels (FOPLs) and policy effectiveness. By conducting three studies on 1956 European consumers with different levels of exposure to FOPLs, this study offers additional theoretical and experimental support through a deep investigation of the central role of trust in consumers’ decision-making towards healthier and more informed food choices. Design/methodology/approach Study 1 used structural equation modelling to assess whether trust is a relevant mediator of the relationship between attitude and behavioural intention (BI), thus upgrading the front-of-pack acceptance model (FOPAM); Study 2 tested the model by comparing two labels at the extremes of the current European scheme (NutrInform Battery [NiB], Nutri-Score [NS]); Study 3 assessed the effect in cases where the connection between trust and algorithms is made transparent and evaluated trust dimensions, focusing on the perception of an algorithm presence behind FOPLs information. Findings Study 1 strengthens the FOPAM model with the mediating role of trust in FOPLs, demonstrating a positive effect of attitude on trust and, in turn, on BI, and resulting in a higher model fit with all the significant relationships; Study 2 revealed that the relative performance of the different labels on the FOPAM can be explained by the trust dimension; Study 3, investigating the dynamics of trust in the FOPAM, revealed that the NS is less effective than the NiB on attitude, BI and trust. Research limitations/implications The sample was limited to Italian, French and English respondents, and two labels at the extreme of the spectrum were examined. Furthermore, the research has relevance to the issue of trust. Other moderators used in previous studies on technology acceptance model, such as actual use versus perceptual use, user experience level or type of users and type of use might be investigated. Practical implications The investigation of trust, with the upgrade of FOPAM, enhances understanding of consumers’ decision-making processes when aided by food labels and makes a new contribution to the European Union “Inception Impact Assessment” in preparation for the finalization of the “From-Farm-to-Fork Strategy”, providing new insights into the role of trust by assessing the relative performance of FOPLs in consumers’ acceptance of food-related information. Furthermore, this study revealed that consumers’ perception of FOPLs worsens when they realize that they are the result of an algorithmic calculation. Finally, the new FOPAM represents a reliable theoretical model for future research on FOPL. Originality/value This study increases the knowledge about the performance of different FOPLs on several dimensions of food decision-making, positions the upgraded FOPAM as a valid alternative to existing theoretical models to assess the relative performance of labels, also extending the literature in the context of algorithm-based FOPL, and could be used as a valid support to policymakers and industry experts in their decision towards a unified label at European level.

The role of trust and algorithms in consumers’ front-of-pack labels acceptance: a cross-country investigation / Mazzù, Marco Francesco; Baccelloni, A; Romani, Simona; Andria, A. - In: EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF MARKETING. - ISSN 0309-0566. - 56:11(2022), pp. 3107-3137. [10.1108/EJM-10-2021-0764]

The role of trust and algorithms in consumers’ front-of-pack labels acceptance: a cross-country investigation

MF Mazzù;S Romani
;
2022

Abstract

Purpose This study aims to reveal the implications that trust, as a key driver of consumer behaviour, might have on consumer acceptance of front-of-pack labels (FOPLs) and policy effectiveness. By conducting three studies on 1956 European consumers with different levels of exposure to FOPLs, this study offers additional theoretical and experimental support through a deep investigation of the central role of trust in consumers’ decision-making towards healthier and more informed food choices. Design/methodology/approach Study 1 used structural equation modelling to assess whether trust is a relevant mediator of the relationship between attitude and behavioural intention (BI), thus upgrading the front-of-pack acceptance model (FOPAM); Study 2 tested the model by comparing two labels at the extremes of the current European scheme (NutrInform Battery [NiB], Nutri-Score [NS]); Study 3 assessed the effect in cases where the connection between trust and algorithms is made transparent and evaluated trust dimensions, focusing on the perception of an algorithm presence behind FOPLs information. Findings Study 1 strengthens the FOPAM model with the mediating role of trust in FOPLs, demonstrating a positive effect of attitude on trust and, in turn, on BI, and resulting in a higher model fit with all the significant relationships; Study 2 revealed that the relative performance of the different labels on the FOPAM can be explained by the trust dimension; Study 3, investigating the dynamics of trust in the FOPAM, revealed that the NS is less effective than the NiB on attitude, BI and trust. Research limitations/implications The sample was limited to Italian, French and English respondents, and two labels at the extreme of the spectrum were examined. Furthermore, the research has relevance to the issue of trust. Other moderators used in previous studies on technology acceptance model, such as actual use versus perceptual use, user experience level or type of users and type of use might be investigated. Practical implications The investigation of trust, with the upgrade of FOPAM, enhances understanding of consumers’ decision-making processes when aided by food labels and makes a new contribution to the European Union “Inception Impact Assessment” in preparation for the finalization of the “From-Farm-to-Fork Strategy”, providing new insights into the role of trust by assessing the relative performance of FOPLs in consumers’ acceptance of food-related information. Furthermore, this study revealed that consumers’ perception of FOPLs worsens when they realize that they are the result of an algorithmic calculation. Finally, the new FOPAM represents a reliable theoretical model for future research on FOPL. Originality/value This study increases the knowledge about the performance of different FOPLs on several dimensions of food decision-making, positions the upgraded FOPAM as a valid alternative to existing theoretical models to assess the relative performance of labels, also extending the literature in the context of algorithm-based FOPL, and could be used as a valid support to policymakers and industry experts in their decision towards a unified label at European level.
2022
Trust, FOPAM, Algorithm, Nutri-score, NutrInform battery, Multiple traffic light, FOPL ease of use, Usefulness, TAM, Behaviour, Food, Labelling nutrition, Attitudes, Decision support systems, European Union, Processed foods
The role of trust and algorithms in consumers’ front-of-pack labels acceptance: a cross-country investigation / Mazzù, Marco Francesco; Baccelloni, A; Romani, Simona; Andria, A. - In: EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF MARKETING. - ISSN 0309-0566. - 56:11(2022), pp. 3107-3137. [10.1108/EJM-10-2021-0764]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11385/224063
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