In September 2008, all of China was shocked by the tainted milk scandal. In order to help the Chinese government to establish a food traceability system (FTS), the authors conducted the present research which aims to investigate the acceptability of certified traceable (CT) food among Chinese consumers.
A survey consisting of face‐to‐face interviews with 1,757 consumers from 13 cities in the Jiangsu Province of China was used. The 13 cities fell into three different categories according to their levels of economic development. The acceptance and purchase of CT food were compared and analyzed in the three levels of consumers. The factors affecting consumer unwillingness to purchase CT food were obtained by factor analysis.
After the respondents were fully informed about FTS, their acceptance level for CT food significantly increased. The respondents who were willing to buy CT food particularly preferred milk, eggs, and honey as well as meats such as pork, beef, mutton, chicken and duck. Of the total respondents, 68 per cent stated that they would be willing to pay extra for CT food. The main factors affecting consumer unwillingness to buy CT food were: lack of familiarity with CT food and doubt about its function, preference for direct and concise food quality labels, and worries regarding excessively high prices.
Ultimately, it is hoped to improve the overall safety of food in China and potentially worldwide. The Chinese government has to ensure the effectiveness of the FTS, to increase public knowledge about the FTS, to allocate government funds for the establishment of a FTS, and to give extra support to underdeveloped regions. These are the key issues that the Chinese government faces in establishing and popularizing the food traceability system.
This paper researched the acceptability of CT food among Chinese consumers and the factors preventing its acceptance. It provides valuable information for developing countries while seeking to raise China's food safety levels.
Wu, L., Xu, L. and Gao, J. (2011), "The acceptability of certified traceable food among Chinese consumers", British Food Journal, Vol. 113 No. 4, pp. 519-534. https://doi.org/10.1108/00070701111123998Download as .RIS
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