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Abstract

Labels, certifications and endorsements signaling the quality of food have an impact on the purchasing choices of multiple segments of US consumers. At the same time, not much is known about the relationships between the sources providing information through these quality signals and consumer choices. In this paper, we explore 1) whether the credibility of an information source has an impact on US consumers’ beef brand choices; 2) which labels, certifications and endorsements are chosen by US consumers among a range of eight brands with pre-selected sources of information; 3) which consumer segments have different perceptions on information sources and beef brand choices. Data are collected through an on-line survey on a representative sample of 460 US consumers and analyzed through structural equation modeling. The results show that credibility - although it has a positive impact on consumers’ brand choice - is a complex concept which needs to be dissected in more specific variables, namely perceived knowledgeability, perceived absence of vested interests, perceived absence of mistakes in the past and trust. In particular, perceived knowledgeability and perceived absence of vested interests of the information source are inversely proportional.

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