- Research Article
Are nutrition labels useful for the purchase of a familiar food? Evidence from Chinese consumers’ purchase of rice
Frontiers of Business Research in China volume 5, Article number: 402 (2011)
Nutrition labeling has been accepted by Chinese consumers as an information source to learn about food quality and safety. This paper uses Chinese consumers’ rice purchase as an example to study how consumers use food nutrition labels to make purchase decision of a familiar food product. The goal is to understand how consumers seek information from the labels to make purchase when extensive experience with the food has been developed. Survey data from 400 random respondents in Beijing were analyzed using an empirical framework and a Mont Carlo integral econometrics model. We find that more than 50% of the consumers in Beijing have heard of food nutrition labels in general, 36.50% carefully use label information even if they are familiar with the food, and nearly 70% consider mandatory food nutrition labels as beneficial. Those who are more knowledgeable about rice nutrition labels are more likely to use the labels when purchasing rice, no matter how familiar they are with the product. Frequent users of nutrition labels are more likely to consider food mandatory nutrition labels as beneficial. This study suggests that consumers still use the label information to reassure the quality and safety of food despite a history of consumption.
Barreiro, H. J., Gracia, A., & de-Magistris, T. 2008. When more is less: The effect of multiple health and nutrition labels in food product choice. European Association of Agricultural Economists, International Congress Paper, 44013.
Bush, L.M., & Williams, R.A. 1999. Diet and health: New problems/new solutions. Food Policy, 24(2): 135–144.
Cranfield, J. A. L., & Magnusson, E. 2003. Canadian consumers’ willingness to pay for pesticide free food products: An ordered probit analysis. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 6(4): 114–126.
Chang, H., & Kinnucan, H. W. 1991. Advertising, information, and product quality: The case of butter. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 73(4): 1195–1203.
Gracia, A., Loureiro, M., & Nayga Jr., R. M. 2007. Do consumers perceive benefits from the implementation of an EU mandatory nutrition labeling program. Food Policy, 32(2):160–174.
Gila, J. M., Gracia, A., & Sanchez, M. 2000. Market segmentation and willingness to pay for organic products in Spain. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 3(1): 207–226.
Ippolito, P. M., & Mathios, A. D. 1990. Information, advertising and health choice. Rand Journal Economics, 21(3): 59–80.
Kinnucan, H. W., & Venkateswaran, M. 1990. Effects of generic advertising on perceptions and behavior: The case of catfish. Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics, 22(2): 137–151.
Kim, S. Y., Nayga Jr., R. M., & Capps Jr., O. 2001. Health knowledge and consumer use of nutrition labels: The issue revisited. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 30(1): 10–19.
Kim, S. Y., Nayga Jr., R. M., & Capps Jr., O. 2001. Food label use, self-selectivity, and diet quality. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 35(2): 346–363.
Matsumoto, S. 2004. Consumers’ responses to front vs. back package GM labels in Japan. Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, 2(5): 1–25
Moreau, C. P., Markman, A. B., & Lehmann, D. R. 2001. “What is it?” categorization flexibility and consumers’ responses to really new products. Journal of Consumer Research, 27(4): 489–498.
Nayga Jr., R. M. 1996. Determinants of consumer’ use of nutritional information on food packages. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 28(2): 303–312.
Nayga Jr., R. M. 1997. Impact of socio-demographic factors on perceived importance of nutrition in food shopping. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 31(1): 1–9.
Nayga, Jr. R. M. 2000. Nutrition knowledge, gender, and food label use. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 34(1): 97–112.
Piedra, M. A., Schupp, A., & Montgomery, D. 1996. Consumer use of nutrition labels on package meats. Journal of Food Distribution and Research, 27(2): 42–47.
Roe, B., & Teisl, M. 2007. Genetically modified food labeling: The impacts of message and messenger on consumer perceptions of labels and products. Food Policy, 32(1): 49–60.
Siegrist, M., 2000. The influence of trust and perceptions of risks and benefits on the acceptance of gene technology. Risk Analysis, 20(2): 195–203.
Soregarol, C., Boccalett, S., & Moro, D. 2003. Consumer’s attitude towards labeled and unlabeled gm food products in Italy. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 6(2): 112–127.
Swartz, D. G., & Strand Jr., I. E. 1981. Avoidance costs associated with imperfect information: The case of kepone. Land Economics, 57(2): 139–150.
Sedjo, R. A., & Swallow, S. K. 2002. Voluntary eco-labeling and the price premium. Land Economics, 78(2): 272–284.
Teisl, M. F., Boksteal, N. E., & Levy, A. 2003. Measuring the welfare effects of nutrition information. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 83(1): 133–149.
Vassilis A. H., & McFadden D. L.. 1998. The method of simulated scores for the estimation of LDV models. Econometrica, Econometric Society, 66(4): 863–896.
Wang, G., Fletcher, S. M., & Carley D. H. 1995. Consumer utilization of food labeling as a source of nutrition information. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 29(2): 368–380.
Wu, J., & Fu, G. 2007. The effects of brand origin country and made-in country on consumers’ product evaluations and purchase intention. Frontiers of Business Research in China, 1(3): 333–350.
Yang, D. F., & Wang, X. X. 2010. The effects of 2-tier store brands’ perceived quality, perceived quality, perceived value, brand knowledge, and attitude on store loyalty. Frontiers of Business Research in China, 4(1): 1–28.
Zeng, Y. 曾寅初. Liu, Y. 刘媛媛. & Yu, X. 于晓华. 2008. 分层模型在食品安全支付意愿研究中的应用—以北京市消费者对月饼添加剂支付意愿的调查为例 (Application of hierarchical model in willingness to pay for food safety: Consumer survey of willingness to pay for mooncake additive). 农业技术经济 (Journal of Agrotechnical Economics), (1): 8
Zhou, Li. 周立. 2009. 中国食品安全走到十字路口 (Food safety at a crossroad). 中外对话 (China Dialogue). Retrieved April 22, 2009, from http://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/2945
About this article
Cite this article
Zheng, S., Xu, P. & Wang, Z. Are nutrition labels useful for the purchase of a familiar food? Evidence from Chinese consumers’ purchase of rice. Front. Bus. Res. China 5, 402 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11782-011-0137-0
- nutrition label
- consumer consumption behavior
- food perception
- consumer behavior