Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Objective risk and subjective risk: The role of information in food supply chains

Santeramo, Fabio Gaetano and Lamonaca, Emilia (2020): Objective risk and subjective risk: The role of information in food supply chains. Forthcoming in: Food Research International

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Food-borne infections cause a considerable amount of illnesses, heavily affecting healthcare systems. Given the spread of food-borne infections, assessing food risks is a relevant issue for the food industry and policymakers. Following a systematic and meta-analytical approach, we evaluate how different sources and types of risks (i.e. objective and subjective) are valued by consumers, in order to emphasise to what extent information on food risks may be efficiently transferred to consumers. The results show that information on food safety, conveyed through labels, exerts a positive influence on the premium prices for food safety. Consumers would be willing to pay a price premium up to 168.7% for food products that are treated against a specific food-borne risk factor, certified to be safe, tested or even inspected by public or third parties. However, we also find that labels are inefficient instruments of information on food safety, particularly when products are likely to be affected by hazardous and risky events and consumers correctly perceive risks. The results suggest that consumers exposed to relevant risk information about food safety tend to increase their risk perception and to decrease their premium prices for information on food safety. Including labels on food safety may fill the information gap and thus lower the mismatch between (objective) scientific-based risks and (subjective) perceived risks.

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