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Eliciting Consumer Preferences for Certified Animal-Friendly Foods: Can Elements of the Theory of Planned Behavior Improve Choice Experiment Analysis?

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Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Giuseppe Nocella, Lecturer, Department of Food Economics and Marketing, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AR, United Kingdom (G.Nocella@reading.ac.uk).

ABSTRACT

Models used in neoclassical economics assume human behavior to be purely rational. On the other hand, models adopted in social and behavioral psychology are founded on the “black box” of human cognition. In view of these observations, this paper aims at bridging this gap by introducing psychological constructs in the well-established microeconomic framework of choice behavior based on random utility theory. In particular, it combines constructs developed employing Ajzen's theory of planned behavior with Lancaster's theory of consumer demand for product characteristics to explain stated preferences over certified animal-friendly foods (AFF). To reach this objective, a Web survey was administered in the largest five EU-25 countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Findings identify some salient cross-cultural differences between northern and southern Europe and suggest that psychological constructs developed using the Ajzen model are useful in explaining heterogeneity of preferences. Implications for policymakers and marketers involved with certified AFF are discussed.

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