An Evaluation of the Food Safety Related Anxiety Levels Prevalent Among the Consumers of the Republic of Macedonia
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Recently, the interest in food risk has grown a lot and varieties of researches have been done in the view of Food-Related Risks. Particularly, they are concerned in the consumer anxieties over food scares, food security and social and environmental sustainability of production–consumption networks. The current situation of Food-Related Risks in the Republic of Macedonia has upset consumer’s self-confidence in the food products. The consumer perception of risk is extremely applicable to food safety concerns. Consequently, the aim of this thesis is to investigate an understanding of the food risk concept and outline influential factors which are affecting the perception of ‘food risk’ among the consumers in Macedonia as well as the relationship between food risk characteristics, consumer perception of food safety related risk, consumer purchase behavior in order to provide better understanding for risk communication strategies. The research method in this study was complementary, thus both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used. Three hundred surveys had been passing through the citizens of Macedonia and two focus groups were carried out to clarify and distinguish the main concerns of food hazards in the country, as well as to identify the items of perceived consequent loss and risk reducing strategies accepted by the people. The results from the study indicated that there is a general consensus among the consumers in Macedonia as to how they interpret the term ‘food risk’, indicating that they perceive as food products or attributes to the same which may have a negative health impact. However, the results in respect to the influential factors yield inconclusive results, where the quantitative results demonstrated that there is no significant correlation between the outlined variables and ‘food risk’ perceptions, while the results from the qualitative study indicated the participants are aware and to some extend consider the outlined factors. In addition to this the study demonstrated that food risk perceptions have significant impact upon the purchasing decision making process. Subsequently, a general concussion can be drawn from the study that consumers’ attitudes and perceptions towards food safety are not an independent issue; rather, the perception of risk in food choices is linked to consumers’ demographic and socio-economic status, culture, personal preferences and experience. Perceptions of risks associated with consumption, therefore, can be seen as an outcome of individual characteristics and experiences combined with influential factors.
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