Evaluating Factors Explaining U.S. Consumers’ Behavioral Intentions toward Irradiated Ground Beef

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2023-08-22

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MDPI

Abstract

Although food irradiation is deemed safe and endorsed by health-related organizations worldwide, consumers are reluctant to accept the technology. Yet, consumer acceptance is critical as food irradiation has significant potential for increasing the safety and availability of food globally. To communicate about food irradiation, science communicators should understand the psychology behind consumers’ decision making related to irradiated foods. Using empirical research, we developed a theoretical model and used structural equation modeling to determine how nine variables affect consumers’ behavioral intentions toward irradiated ground beef. We purchased a national quota sample from Qualtrics and surveyed N = 1102 U.S. consumers. The model explained 60.3% of the variance in consumers’ attitudes toward food irradiation and 55.4% of their behavioral intentions toward irradiated ground beef. Attitude had the largest positive, total effect on consumers’ behavioral intentions, which was followed by subjective social norm and perceived benefit. Perceived risk had the largest negative, total effect on behavioral intentions. Attitude mediated the effect of subjective social norm, perceived benefit, perceived risk, objective knowledge, and food technology neophobia. Environmental concern and health consciousness did not significantly affect behavioral intention. Science communicators should develop messaging strategies that seek to improve consumer acceptance with these factors in mind.

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Citation

Parrella, J.A.; Leggette, H.R.; Lu, P.; Wingenbach, G.; Baker, M.; Murano, E. Evaluating Factors Explaining U.S. Consumers’ Behavioral Intentions toward Irradiated Ground Beef. Foods 2023, 12, 3146.