This study aims to explore the motivation as well as barriers for ethical food consumption behaviour by focussing on the food consumption pattern of young adults in the North East of Scotland. Considering the recent involvement of young adults in environmental activism, consumption behaviour of young adults in the North East of Scotland, an oil-based community, presents essential research interest to understand whether young adults often contemplate the consequences of their lifestyle.
The authors explored the perceptions of ten purposive recruited young adults using semi-structured interviews to understand factors underpinning consumer's decision-making towards ethical food products.
The study reveals three key factors influencing ethical food consumption behaviour among young adults. The findings show that personal health and well-being are the main reasons why consumers engage in ethical food consumption. Also, it is observed that information facilitates decision-making by raising awareness regarding the social, environmental and health consequences of food production and consumption. Further, the findings show that situational attributes, such as product price and product availability, are creating dissonance when engaging in ethical food consumption.
This study contributes to sustainability research and the ongoing debate on consumerism by exploring ethical food consumption behaviour and highlights the need to address situational challenges, such as product price and availability. The study suggests that interventions to address current consumption patterns should also emphasise the social and personal benefits of food consumption rather than the environmental benefits that have been the focus of prior research.
The authors express their gratitude to the reviewers for their constructive contributions to this article through insightful suggestions and comments that helped in clarifying some of the ideas in this paper. The authors also wish to thank Dr Louise Manning and Dr Stefano Bresciani for their efforts, suggestions, and comments throughout the review process.
Oke, A., Ladas, J. and Bailey, M. (2020), "Ethical consumers: an exploratory investigation of the ethical food consumption behaviour of young adults in the North East of Scotland", British Food Journal, Vol. 122 No. 11, pp. 3623-3638. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-10-2019-0801
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