Food Safety Gaps between Consumers' Expectations and Perceptions: Development and Verification of a Gap-Assessment Tool

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Aug 31;17(17):6328. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17176328.


In recent decades, food safety has become a major concern due to frequent food safety incidents in many countries. This may lead to increased health risks associated with low quality food consumption, thereby reducing consumer trust in food safety. A better understanding of consumer perceptions of food safety can improve indicators that do not meet consumer expectations. We propose a food safety gap model with four gap-construct based on consumer expectations and perceptions. The model was empirically tested through a survey of 25 items, and then assessed for gaps through the importance-performance analysis (IPA). From a sample of 697 Taiwanese consumers, we found a huge gap between consumer expectations and perceptions related to food safety. More importantly, the results of the IPA indicate that most items must be immediately improved, which is vital in order to mitigate the risk of food safety.

Keywords: consumer perceptions; consumers expectations; food safety; food safety gap; importance–performance analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Female
  • Food Safety*
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trust*
  • Young Adult