Food purchasing decisions and environmental ideology: an exploratory survey of UK shoppers

Margo E. Barker, Francis Wong, Christopher R. Jones, Jean M. Russell

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Abstract

Environmentally and ethically conscious food purchasing has traction with British consumers. We examined how broad environmental worldviews related to shoppers’ ratings of the importance of various shopping criteria, including recognition of eco-labels, by surveying 502 shoppers from the city of Sheffield, England. Environmental worldviews were measured using the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale. Responses to the scale split into two dimensions reflecting the scale’s origins: the Dominant Social Paradigm (DSP) and NEP subscales. Subscription to the NEP (ecocentric values) was associated with greater importance ratings of nutrition & health, animal welfare, the environment, Fairtrade, seasonal, local and organic criteria. Subscription to the DSP (anthropocentric values) was associated with greater importance ratings of quality, taste, safety, price and convenience criteria. Notably, subscription to DSP values was the only predictor of eco-label recognition score in a multivariate model. These results indicate that the NEP scale should be considered as two subscales. The results suggest that campaigns to increase consumers’ environmental awareness in order to encourage environmentally driven food shopping are likely to motivate only consumers disenchanted with technological and anthropocentric development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6279
Number of pages18
JournalSustainability
Volume11
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • environmental worldviews
  • New Ecological Paradigm
  • eco-labels
  • shopping decisions
  • Dominant Social Paradigm

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