The May 2012 earthquake waves shaking the North-East part of Italy have caused 26 deaths and diffuse economic damage in the traditional production area of Parmigiano-Reggiano PDO, including several dairies warehouses where the cheese is produced and aged. It has been estimated that losses to the Parmigiano-Reggiano system exceeded 150 millions Euro. In the broad mobilization to help the stricken people, the agri-food system played a primary role, giving rise to the sales of “Parmigiano-Reggiano damaged by earthquake” (PR-T). This paper aims to investigate the main determinants of PR-T purchasing using the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) as a conceptual framework. A preliminary focus group and a survey on 200 consumers were performed for this purpose; data were collected with face-to-face interviews in stores and markets where the PR-T has been sold. The relative importance of attitude, descriptive norms and perceived behavioural control (PBC) in influencing the intention to purchase PR-T and the behaviour itself where investigated. Other concepts were added to the analysis, such as formal and informal trust, moral attitude, PDO perception, sense of belonging to the region, and other socio-economic variables. The revised TPB model predictors accounted for 70% of the variance of intentions to purchase PR-T in the future and 32% of the variance of behaviour. PBC, trust in formal communication sources and PDO quality warranty are the main predictors of intentions. Behaviour is positively affected by descriptive norms, sense of belonging, age and intentions, and negatively determined by food scare, past behaviour and educational level. These empirical findings provide evidence of the solidarity aspects of collective purchases of Parmigiano-Reggiano in the aftermath of the 2012 earthquake waves, as well as the importance of increasing people’s capability and trust to effectively reach the goal of facing dreadful food scares.


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