Consumer trust in food retailers: conceptual framework and empirical evidence

Linn Viktoria Rampl (Department for Corporate Management & Economics, Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany)
Tim Eberhardt (Department for Corporate Management & Economics, Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany)
Reinhard Schütte (EDEKA AG, Hamburg, Germany)
Peter Kenning (Department for Corporate Management & Economics, Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Publication date: 23 March 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The rising number of food safety scandals during recent years has led to increased uncertainty about food consumption choices. Additionally, new production process technologies, increased attention toward product ingredients, and obesity concerns have affected general levels of trust in food. Consequently, trust is an ever more decisive factor for success in food industry buyer‐seller relationships and, hence, in the retail food market. Although considerable research has investigated trust in organizations, research in the food retailing industry needs further investigation. The aim of this paper is to identify variables related to consumer trust in food retailers. Only when consumer trust in food retailers is understood can retailers effectively apply corresponding strategies to secure long‐term success.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on an established model of trust in organizations, the authors developed a questionnaire to test drivers (ability, benevolence, integrity), outcomes (risk taking, loyalty) of specific trust in food retailers, as well as moderators (propensity to trust, perceived risk).

Findings

Study results support the hypothesized model, showing that specific trust in a food retailer strongly predicts risk taking and, in turn, loyalty. The food retailer's ability and integrity were identified as relevant to specific trust, while the customer's propensity to trust was shown to moderate the relationship between benevolence and specific trust. The results further indicate that the perceived risk affects the relationship between specific trust and risk taking.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to apply and test an established model of trust in the food‐retailing market.

Keywords

Citation

Viktoria Rampl, L., Eberhardt, T., Schütte, R. and Kenning, P. (2012), "Consumer trust in food retailers: conceptual framework and empirical evidence", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 254-272. https://doi.org/10.1108/09590551211211765

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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