To Buy or Not to Buy? Consumer Attitudes and Purchase Intentions for Suboptimal Food

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Jul 6;15(7):1431. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15071431.


Food system and food safety have drawn spontaneous global attention due to the effect of substantial environmental concerns. Three billion tons of food are wasted every year, estimated as being a third of all produced food. The production of much of this waste is directly linked to the unwillingness to sell, purchase, and consume suboptimal food that have deviated from regular products in terms of appearance standards, date labeling, or damaged packaging. Yet empirical research on this issue is scarce. This study aims to develop an extended Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) research model, which includes environmental concern and sensory appeal to predict consumers' purchase intention to suboptimal foods. A total of 539 respondents collected in Taiwan as data input. The empirical results of structural equation modeling (SEM) indicate that consumers' attitude was the main predictor of their intention to purchase suboptimal foods. Interestingly, this research showed that both perceived behavioral control and subjective norms were not significant predictors of intention. Furthermore, adding environmental concern and sensory appeal as the additional constructs to the TPB significantly increased the explanatory power of the standard model. These findings provide important insights for suboptimal food and useful recommendations for marketing channels, suggesting that promotion of suboptimal food may be the key to potential business.

Keywords: environmental concern; extended theory of planned behavior (TPB); food security; sensory appeal.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Food Quality*
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychological Theory
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan