China consumers regard a product’s country of origin, price, brand, and physical prevention measures such as tamper proof seals as the most trusted indicators in identifying authentic and safe foods, a group of researchers found.
In contrast, certifications and QR codes are less unlikely to win the trust of the consumers, the researchers added.
This is because consumers believe that these credentials and codes could be easily falsified.
The researchers conducted a mixed method survey consisting of qualitative and quantitative studies in three Chinese cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu.
In total, 42 consumers took part in the qualitative study, while 850 participated in the quantitative study.
Participants were asked their intention to buy 1) infant milk formula 20 scotch whiskey and 3) olive oil : these are products which have a history of food fraud in China.
It was found that authenticity cues were an important influence on attitude across the three cities.
The higher the chance the products are proved to be authenticated, the more likely consumers will buy the product.
On average, 8 out of 10 participants said they intend to purchase authenticated products.
Participants from Beijing and Chengdu, are however, less trusting of tangible product cues - such as QR code - as they belived that this data could be easily falsified. More