Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze how news about food-related health risks affects consumers’ demands for safe food products. Design/methodology/approach – By identifying structural breaks in an econometrically estimated demand model, news with permanent impact on demand is distinguished from news with temporary impact. The Danish demand for pasteurized versus shell eggs is used as an illustrative case. Findings – Negative safety news about one product variety can provide significant stimulation to the demand for safe varieties. Severe negative news about the safety of shell eggs induces a permanent increase in the demand for pasteurized eggs, while more moderate negative news influences demand temporarily and to a lesser extent. There is, however, considerable variation in the response to food safety news across socio-demographic groups of consumers. Research limitations/implications – The study has focused on the demand for raw eggs. Responses to food safety news may differ across foods. Furthermore, the study abstracts from possible cross-effects of safety news concerning other foods. Practical implications – The findings may be utilized for optimization of the timing and targeting of food safety information campaigns. Originality/value – The paper combines information, food safety and econometric methods to analyze the cross-impacts between negative food safety news and the demand for safe foods.
British Food Journal, 2005, Vol 107, Issue 3, p. 173-186