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An integrative model to understand consumers' trust and willingness to buy imported fresh fruit in urban China

Ningning Feng (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Brisbane, Australia) (East China Normal University, Shanghai, China)
Airong Zhang (Health and Biosecurity, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Brisbane, Australia)
Rieks D. van Klinken (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Brisbane, Australia)
Lijuan Cui (The School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 15 February 2021

Issue publication date: 28 June 2021

386

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop an integrative model where perceived competence, perceived warmth and “clean green image” of an exporting country are drivers for Chinese consumers' trust in food quality and food safety, which in turn predict their willingness to buy fresh fruit from this country.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants (N = 1,583) from the three metropolises in China were surveyed on their perceptions of the competence, warmth and clean green image of seven contrasting exporting countries and their trust in quality, trust in safety and willingness to buy fresh fruit imported from those countries.

Findings

Results support the proposed integrative model, explaining 39%–55% of the variance in willingness to buy. Clean green image was the strongest predictor of willingness to buy through enhanced trust in food quality. The effects of country competence and warmth on willingness to buy through trust in food safety and quality varied with exporting country.

Research limitations/implications

The integrative model and findings of this study can help agri-food industries develop an in-depth understanding of Chinese consumers and to develop targeted strategies to increase willingness to buy through improving consumer trust in food quality and safety.

Originality/value

This study extends the country image framework which previously only consisted of human characteristics (i.e. perceived competence and warmth) by incorporating environmental characteristics (i.e. clean green image) in examining consumers' willingness to buy imported fresh fruit.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Elizabeth Hobman and Tom Measham for their insightful feedback on the manuscript. This research was supported by the CSIRO’s Trusted Agrifood Exports’ Initiative and China Scholarship Council (CSC Award Number: 201806140109).

Citation

Feng, N., Zhang, A., van Klinken, R.D. and Cui, L. (2021), "An integrative model to understand consumers' trust and willingness to buy imported fresh fruit in urban China", British Food Journal, Vol. 123 No. 6, pp. 2216-2234. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-07-2020-0575

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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