The assumption that consumers prefer cosmetically perfect fruits and vegetables contributes to global food waste, because food retailers refuse to offer abnormally shaped food. This study empirically examines how food shape abnormality affects purchase intentions and how two individual difference variables, environmental concern and social trust, might moderate the food shape abnormality–purchase intention relationship for consumers in China. A representative sample of 212 Chinese consumers indicated their purchase intentions for two fruits and two vegetables with varying levels of food shape abnormality (normal, moderately abnormal, and extremely abnormal). The results demonstrate that food shape influences purchase intentions; consumers are more likely to purchase normally shaped fruits and vegetables than moderately or extremely abnormally shaped food. However, environmental concern and social trust also drive purchase intentions, such that participants with high levels of environmental concern express higher purchase intentions toward abnormally shaped food. Social trust alone is not sufficient to prompt the purchase of abnormal food, but consumers with high social trust and high environmental concern are more likely to purchase. Thus, increasing environmental concern, particularly among consumers with low social trust, might encourage more people to purchase abnormally shaped fruits and vegetables.
Food Quality and Preference, 2015, Vol 40, Issue Part A, p. 24-30
Food waste; Purchase intentions; Environmental concern; Social trust