3.3 Study 3: Information experiments


  • To check the impact of different risk management and communication strategies on consumer confidence in risk management
  • To assess whether improved communication about risk uncertainty and variability increases consumer confidence in risk analysis, and whether similar approaches to effective communication can be applied across different types of food hazards


Different strategic and tactical food safety management options may have a different impact on consumer perceptions of the quality of food risk management. The outcomes of this research may provide food risk managers with useful guidelines for dealing with emerging food hazards, improving food risk management practices quality.

Apart from risk management, improved knowledge about consumer perceptions regarding management practices can provide food risk managers with useful guidelines for communicating uncertainty and variability.


How? Internet Questionnaire with modified information
Where? Norway
How many participants? 1600 Consumers

The researched countries have been selected based on Hofstede values.


In this experiment the researchers provided the respondents with three hypothetical scenarios representing three potential food hazards of particular interest to the SAFEFOODS project.
Information experiments

Four factors were included in this experiment to check their influence on food risk management quality. From the results of the large quantitative study it was known that these factors have an impact on food risk management quality.

Each factor was tested in two levels: high and low, in each of the three predicted scenarios. In total, 16 combinations between factors and levels were possible. Please have a look at the table with some examples.

Information experiments

Scenarios about each of the hazards were created by modifying the four factors and two levels. For example, one scenario could be the hazard “Mycotoxins as an emerging risk” accepting high uncertainty, high variability, low systems of control and high concern for consumer welfare.

Each respondent of the questionnaire had three scenarios (one per hazard) with just one combination of factors and levels per scenario distributed randomly. That means that each participant had different possible combinations for each of the three hazards. All respondents received the same general description of a food hazard followed by four statements manipulating the factors relevant for perceptions of food risk management quality.

In summary, three scenarios were provided to each respondent. For those scenarios, some factors influencing the consumer perceptions of food risk management were selected from the previous, quantitative study. These factors were then manipulated to investigate how people responded to those manipulations.


SAFE FOODS researchers are still working on this study and the results are not ready yet. These results will provide the knowledge for formulating risk communication strategies that will boost consumer confidence in food safety.

Thank you for your comprehension!