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Examining trust in consumers as new food co-creators: Does the communicator matter?

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Consumers increasingly fulfil the role of co-creators by collaborating with producers in new product development. Communicating that the product has been co-developed with consumers tends to positively influence consumer perceptions. However, research remains limited regarding who should communicate this information, particularly in the case of food products where consumer perceptions largely depend on the trust in the producer and product information. This paper examines the influence of co-creation information communicated by a company vs. by co-creators (i.e. co-creating consumers) on two dimensions of trust in consumers acting as new food co-creators: perceived honesty and perceived competence. Furthermore, it investigates how this effect is moderated by respondents’ familiarity with co-creation as an innovation process. Respondents were presented with the same new food product concept in an online experimental survey with consumers (n = 697) divided into three experimental groups. One group served as the control group with no co-creation information provided. The other two groups were informed that the product was the result of a co-creation activity between the company and consumers, using two types of information communicator. In one group, the company communicated the information, whereas in the other group, it was communicated by the co-creators. Our findings suggest that who communicates the co-creation information matters if consumers are not familiar with co-creation. In this case, co-creators are more likely to facilitate general consumer trust in peer consumers as new food co-creators. This study provides valuable insights for food companies wanting to leverage the value of co-creation for innovation by selecting the information communicator depending on the level of co-creation familiarity in the target market.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104004
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

    Research areas

  • Co-creation, Communication, Consumer, Food innovation, New food product development, Trust

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