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Consumer behaviour and corporate social responsibility: an empirical study of Expo 2015

Gennaro Civero (Department of Economics and Legal Studies, Universita degli Studi di Napoli Parthenope, Napoli, Italy)
Vincenzo Rusciano (Universita degli Studi di Napoli Parthenope, Napoli, Italy)
Debora Scarpato (Department of Economics and Legal Studies, University of Naples Parthenope, Naples, Italy)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 7 August 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to ascertain the attitudes of people towards issues of food safety, food security and sustainability. For this, an empirical study was conducted on visitors to the event Milan Expo 2015. Particular attention was paid to any greater propensity to purchase products from socially responsible agri-food companies and whether the event might have contributed to enrich the baggage of their knowledge on the issues of sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) and to influence future buying behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

Different groups of visiting consumers were identified through cluster analysis in order to segment and divide visitors into groups based on their approach to food safety, food security and sustainability, their willingness to pay for products from companies practising CSR, and the impact of the event on their future buying behaviour.

Findings

The results showed a positive attitude of respondents towards issues of food safety, food security and sustainability in general and to the purchase of sustainable food products. However, due to shortcomings in the communication strategy used by companies attending the event, the sample of visitors did not enrich their knowledge on sustainability and CSR. The impact of Expo 2015 on future buying behaviour was far from impressive.

Originality/value

The findings are particularly useful for the future development of the reputation and profitability of food companies, for the enrichment of knowledge concerning CSR-oriented food companies and to increase the price of products from socially responsible agri-food companies.

Keywords

Citation

Civero, G., Rusciano, V. and Scarpato, D. (2017), "Consumer behaviour and corporate social responsibility: an empirical study of Expo 2015", British Food Journal, Vol. 119 No. 8, pp. 1826-1838. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-12-2016-0601

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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