Convenience food with environmentally-sustainable attributes: A consumer perspective.
Sommaire de l'article
The use of chemicals in agriculture poses risks on both human health and the environment. Regulatory measures, both mandatory and voluntary, have been introduced to promote a reduction in the use of pesticides. The proliferation of such standards is related to the gradual shift of consumer preferences towards foods with reduced negative health and environmental impacts. Beside consumer demand for sustainable food products, convenience foods are also assuming an increasingly important role in developed countries. Among these, minimally-processed vegetables (fresh pre-packed vegetables) are showing a growing positive trend, but their production has also negative effects on the environment. The goal of this study is to investigate the interaction between environmentally-friendly and healthy convenience food, and to investigate the determinants behind the purchase of healthy convenience food products with environmentally-sustainable attributes, focusing on minimally-processed vegetables labelled with voluntary standards related to integrated agriculture. To do so, we started from the Theory of Planned Behaviour and test the efficacy of an extended model by considering also other variables which were found to affect significantly food choices. Data were collected by means of face-to-face interviews with 550 consumers in charge of grocery shopping, in the metropolitan area of Milan in northern Italy. Structural equation modelling was performed to analyse the relative importance of the constructs on consumer behaviour. Results confirm the relations of Ajzen's theory and reveal positive relation with consumer food shopping habits, food-related environmental behaviour, gender, income and knowledge. A negative relation with agricultural practices concern also emerges, highlighting that the most concerned consumers may prefer other more stringent environmental certifications.