Palm oil is a versatile ingredient of many food and non-food products. Yet, over the last year it has rapidly become a controversial product due to its alleged harmful health and environmental effects. Palm oil has rapidly become a controversial product. As a consequence, many food companies have introduced alternative fat sources into their products, in order to meet consumers’ concerns. The purpose of this paper is to: first, investigate consumer purchase intention by assessing whether the environmental, social and health concerns (HCs) act as drivers with regard to the choice of not consuming products containing palm oil; and second, estimate the direct effect of participants’ information seeking (IS) upon their intention, and whether IS mediates the effects of the attitudinal latent constructs on intention.
A quantitative survey of 608 respondents was performed. A structural equation modelling (SEM) procedure was implemented.
Results show that: first, HC is the main driver of participants’ intention to reduce palm oil consumption; second, consumers’ attitudes towards environment and social fairness exert significant direct effects upon intention; third, IS exerts a direct effect on intention; also, it partially mediates the effects of environmental and social concerns, whereas it totally mediates the HC effect.
This is the first study to address the issue of comparison between different drivers of sustainable consumer intentions using a formal test by SEM. Moreover, findings add insightful discussion points to some important issues concerning the role of consumers in the current food system organisational structure and strategies.
Verneau, F., La Barbera, F., Amato, M. and Sodano, V. (2019), "Consumers’ concern towards palm oil consumption: An empirical study on attitudes and intention in Italy", British Food Journal, Vol. 121 No. 9, pp. 1982-1997. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-10-2018-0659
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