Murray, S., Riggs, A., and Montgomery, D. (2020). Women’s perceptions of food production labeling: A Q methodology study. Journal of Agricultural Education, 61(1), 13-31. doi: 10.5032/jae.2020.01013

Consumers’ perceptions of the terminology used on food production labels may lead to a perceived risk, which influences their grocery shopping decisions. Risk perception is the consumers’ belief that he or she may be exposed to something that is harmful or uncertain. Women are more aware of food labels due to their perceived risk associated with health and the environment. This study used Q methodology to describe a variety of viewpoints related to women’s grocery shopping decisions. Using a Q set of 36 statements, 18 women sorted based on the condition of instruction, “How do you make food decisions?” Factor scores, field notes, and post-sort interviews were used to interpret the arrays as the Frugal Shopper, the Price Conscious Shopper, and the Engaged Shopper. The Frugal Shopper was interpreted to be an economical shopper with little concern for food production methods. The Price Conscious Shopper is concerned for the effect on various production methods, but price is the main priority. The Engaged Shopper is willing to pay higher prices to have more choices when grocery shopping. Improved communication and a deeper understanding of consumers’ perceptions of food labels may help decrease the perceived risk associated with various food production methods.

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