Department of Management

Who Buys Oddly Shaped Food and Why? Impacts of Food Shape Abnormality and Organic Labeling on Purchase Intentions

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Even without official quality standards, food retailers generally do not offer abnormally shaped food based on the assumption that consumers reject food that deviates physically from some norm. Because this practice contributes significantly to food waste, the current study tests this assumption experimentally. A representative sample of 964 Danish consumers indicated their purchase intentions for two fruits and two vegetables with varying levels of food shape abnormality (normal, moderately abnormal, and extremely abnormal) and organic labels (organic label, no label). Food shape abnormalities influence consumers’ purchase intentions, but only if the food deviates extremely from the norm; no differences in purchase intentions emerge for moderately abnormal
food. Awareness of food waste issues and proenvironmental self-identities also drive purchase intentions, such that participants with high levels of these traits express significantly higher purchase intentions for abnormally shaped food. Thus, increasing awareness of food waste issues, particularly among those with strong proenvironmental self-identities, might encourage more consumers to purchase abnormally shaped fruits and vegetables.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology & Marketing
Pages (from-to)408-421
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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