Chinese consumers’ risk mitigating strategies against food fraud

Soon, Jan Mei orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0488-1434 and Liu, Xin orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8200-0412 (2020) Chinese consumers’ risk mitigating strategies against food fraud. Food Control, 115 (107298). ISSN 0956-7135

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Food fraud is prevalent in China and the increasing number of reported cases undermined the credibility of food safety authorities and the agri-food industry. Food scandals have caused Chinese consumers to be anxious and distrustful of local food products. Urban consumers have resorted to domestic risk mitigating strategies to identify fraudulent food products. This study aims to investigate the risk mitigating strategies against food fraud adopted by urban and rural consumers. Semi-structured interviews (n = 31) were conducted to collect data from urban and rural consumers in Beijing and Hebei, China. Three thematic domains and nine sub-themes were identified from the data set. There was a general sense of insecurity, anxiety and disapproval about the state of food products in the country. This has driven distrust in the food system, hence Chinese consumers have developed risk mitigating strategies against purchasing and consuming fraudulent food products. The three main coping approaches include purchasing decision making, information searching & sharing and daily self-preservation strategies. This is the first study to provide new empirical findings on rural consumers’ experiences in dealing with fraudulent products and their risk mitigating strategies against food fraud.

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