DINING FOR SAFETY: CONSUMER PERCEPTIONS OF FOOD SAFETY AND EATING OUT
This research aims to investigates whether perceptions about food safety are related to how often consumers eat at restaurant. The research before that are being refer is food safety inspection at a restaurant by public health officials, research has shown that a significant percentage of restaurants have inadequate food safety practices (Allwood, Jenkins, Paulus, Johnson, & Hedberg, 2004; Buchholz, Run, Kool, Fielding & Mascola, 2002; Mathias et al.,1994; Medus, Smith, Bender, Besser, & Hedberg, 2006; U.S. Food and Drug Administration Retail Program Steering Committee,2000; Walczak, 2000). Before do the research, the hypotheses are built. The main two hypotheses used are whether perceptions about food safety issues and the sociodemographic characteristics of consumers are related to frequency of eating at restaurant. All the hypotheses are based on the previous literature on perceptions of food safety and consumer behavior.
The method that they used to get the data is using a nationwide telephone survey in the 48 contiguous U.S states and conducted with 1014 randomly selected U.S adults aged 18 and older between October 31, 2005 and February 9, 2006. Two calling protocols were used are the traditional standard of minimum of 12 call attempts to contact sample members was employed and it were randomly assigned to be called at different times of the day and days of the week. The result they get will be weighted to reflect the sociodemographics and geographic regions of the U.S population using the 2000 census data. They preferred the statistical technique to preserve the ordinal nature of the dependent variable as categorical or nominal data. The independent and the logits are the same for all the logits was violated.
The dependent variable is frequency of eating at a restaurant by asking the respondent about how many times a week they eat at a restaurant. The data will categories like 1=everyday, 2=several times a day or a week, 3=about once or twice a week, 4=less than once a week, and 5=never. Then, the data analysis was recoded into three categories such as frequently, occasionally and rarely.
The independent variables that are used in the analysis are concern about food safety issues, food safety performance of restaurant, how often consumers think about food safety, the belief of having had food poisoning, knowledge about food safety and sociodemographic variables. The food-borne illness was measured by asking two questions to the respondent like “Are you concerned about food-borne illnesses in the foods that you eat?” and “Would you say that you are concerned, somewhat concerned, or a little concerned?” The respondent also asked about two food safety issues that are about pesticide and chemical residues on fruits and vegetables and antibiotics or hormones. The variable trust data gets by asking respondent how they rate the performance of restaurant in making sure the foods that they eat are safe. Other than that, they also asked respondent about the important food safety to them. The data of response will be recorded. The experience of the respondent about had a case of food poisoning also be asked. Respondent knowledge about food safety also was being measured and recorded. Other control variable is sociodemographic that’s whether the respondent was vegetarian, allergic to foods, children younger than 6 and anyone 65 years or older in the household. In addition, the age, sex, race, education and income of the respondent were measured by asking them through the question.
The result that were got from this research are about 18% of respondents stated that they eat at a restaurant often, 43% indicated that they dine out occasionally, and 39% said that they rarely eat out. The respondents who think about food safety hardly at all were more likely to eat at a restaurant more often than those who think about food safety everyday. The males were more likely than females to eat at a restaurant often, and Hispanics were less likely than White respondents to eat at a restaurant often. But, the respondents who are higher levels of concern about food-borne illness, additives and preservatives and believed that they had food poisoning within the past were less likely to eat at a restaurant. Vegetarian’s people were less eating at a restaurant. People who had incomes $60,000 or greater were likely eating outside than those with incomes between $20,000 and $39,999. The respondent with less than a high school education were less likely to eat at a restaurant occasionally than those with at least a bachelor’s degree.
From this research, they got those consumers’ perceptions of food safety influence the frequency of dining at restaurant are doing but not always in predictable ways. There are differences between those who are eating at restaurant rarely, occasionally or often. The concern of food safety issues, thinking about food safety and having experienced food poisoning were related to frequency of dining. But, concern on additives and preservatives and having experienced food poisoning had the opposite effect than predicted. The explanation that got from the respondent may lie in the wording of the questions. For example in experiencing food poisoning, the respondent did not confirm that they was ill because food they eating at a restaurant. The frequency of dining at restaurant general might be not change, but the pattern of patronage may change as consumers eat elsewhere (Henson et al., 2006; Reynolds & Balinbin, 2003). Food-borne illness may cause a short-term decline in eating out, but some patterns may return to previous levels over a period of time (Bocker & Hanf2000). There are more research that researcher should do in findings point on how, when and why consumers associate illness with food purchased at restaurant and food safety variables need to be included in consumer preference studies.
Allwood, P.B., Jenkins, T., Paulus, C., Johnson, L., & Hedberg, C.W. (2004). Hand washing compliance among retail food establishment workers in Minnesota. Journal of Food Protection, 67, 2825-2828.
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Henson, S., Majowicz, S., Masakure, O., Sockett, P., Jones, A., Hart, R., et al. (2006). Consumer assessment of the safety of restaurant: The role of inspection notices and other information cues. Journal of Food Safety, 26, 275-301.