Peer-reviewed paper on consumers’ trust on food labels in Food and Chemical Toxicology

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A peer-reviewed research paper on consumers’ trust on food labels “Trust me? Consumer trust in expert information on food product labels” co-authored with Prof. Ichiro Tayasu and Dr. Lei Fujiyoshi of RIHN’s core project “Proposal and Verification of the Validity of Isotope Environmental Traceability Methodology in Environmental Studies” was published in “Food and Chemical Toxicology” (Mar 2020). The full article is available from the link at the bottom of this page.

“Trust me? Consumer trust in expert information on food product labels”

Christoph D. D. Rupprecht, Lei Fujiyoshi, Steven R. McGreevy, Ichiro Tayasu

Abstract: Food product labels can provide consumers with rich, specific, expert-certified product information. However, sources of label information differ. How do consumers then evaluate label trustworthiness of expert labels in comparison to other commonly used label types? We present results from a representative online survey (N = 10,000) of consumers in Japan, the USA, Germany, China and Thailand using professionally designed labels for four food types (milk, honey, oil, wine) and five different sources of food information (farmers, government/administration, producer associations, experts, and consumers). We tested label legibility through identification of the label information source and asked respondents to evaluate the trustworthiness of labels using a six-scale instrument ranging from overall label trust to purchase intent. Results show that label legibility varied between countries, with expert labels scoring lowest. Nevertheless, respondents correctly identifying all label information sources chose expert labels as the most or second-most trustworthy across all countries and food types, while consumer labels scored low. Demographic factors exhibited weak influence. Results suggest expert labels might play an important role as trusted sources of information in an increasingly complex global food system. Finally, we consider the implications of the study for a potential institutionalization of expert labels based on the Japanese context.