The effect of identities and problem awareness on buying intentions
Identity theory states that people engage in behaviour in order to match one’s standard. If no action is taken a conflict between identity and behavior may cause an internal state of conflict. We argue that in order to be able match identity and behaviour, one needs to be aware of the fact that there is a mismatch. In terms of environmental behaviour, this means that people need to be aware of the environmental problems related to their behaviour. We examined this in relation to food waste. More specifically, purchase intention of misshaped food, which is usually wasted as supermarkets reject to sell it. A representative sample of 958 Danish consumers was presented with a choice experiment in which 2 fruits and 2 vegetables were evaluated varying on 2 levels: shape (normal, abnormal and extreme) and label (organic and regular). Results showed that the more misshaped food products were, the less inclined people were to buy them; those with a higher problem awareness showed a stronger intention to buy more extremely shaped food products. An interaction effect of environmental identity and problem awareness: people with a strong environmental identity who are not aware of food waste problem intend to buy less extremely shaped food products than those with a strong environmental identity and a high problem awareness. Results imply that problem awareness is a key factor in purchase intentions of misshaped food, and influences the affect of identities on purchase intentions.
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10th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology, 2013