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Consumer concerns about food and health: Examination of general and specific relationships with personal values and demographics

Anthony Worsley (School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
Emma Lea (Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 24 October 2008




Aims to investigate the relationships between consumers' food concerns and their personal values and demographic characteristics.


A questionnaire was administered in a cross sectional random population survey conducted among a sample of 1,000 adults in South Australia. The questionnaire elicited information about respondents' concerns about 20 food and health issues, the perceived importance of 23 values items derived from the Schwartz values inventory, and their demographic characteristics.


Principal components analyses derived four food concerns factors and six personal values factors. Respondents' safety concerns scores were positively associated with devout‐tradition, order‐discipline, and moderate‐independent values. Their disease concerns score was positively linked to beauty‐nature, devout‐tradition, and order‐discipline. Multiple regression and chi‐square automatic interaction detection (CHAID) analyses showed that individual values items were strong predictors of consumers; specific concerns such as food and heart disease, and, genetic modification of foods.

Research limitations/implications

The research was based on a cross sectional study. More refined indices of food concerns and personal values should be used in replications of this preliminary study.

Practical implications

The findings support the use of psychographic market segmentation approaches in communication programs about food and health issues.


The findings suggest that personal values, may be stronger predictors of consumers' concerns about food and health issues than demographics. They also show that measurement level of values and concerns influence the observed strength of their relationships.



Worsley, A. and Lea, E. (2008), "Consumer concerns about food and health: Examination of general and specific relationships with personal values and demographics", British Food Journal, Vol. 110 No. 11, pp. 1106-1118.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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