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Abstract

Decisions about food choices in terms of products, preparation, and venue are technology choices in the context of the household production function where consumers consider benefits from taste, health, convenience, and budget given different technologies and information. The literature on adoption in economics and marketing as well as the literature on information sources in food decision-making provides a context to assess the impact of new information and new media on food choices. This literature suggests that consumers use media for identifying information relevant to their decisions, but make final assessments based on total benefits and the probability of fit of a product in meeting their needs. Consumers rely on both formal and informal sources of information in making different choices, and electronic social networks improve the quality of and help more effectively target information from formal sources, but especially information from informal sources. Informational networks expand access of visual information to consumers when making food choices, and allow real-time interaction among consumers that enables them to be more informed about these decisions. Finally, food providers will recognize the role of electronic social networks and new media in food choices, and thus may use them to influence consumers’ food selection.

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