The Effect of Income on Sustainable Food Choices
Berg, Goos van den
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Background: Income influences the consumption of sustainable food, but this may differ per type of sustainable food. The current study distinguishes two types of sustainable food consumption: sustainable food choices that save money and sustainable food choices that are expensive. The theory of planned behavior is used to explain how income groups differ in their purchasing of sustainable food that is expensive, by taking importance of food price into account as a potential mediating factor. The scarcity theory is used to explain how income groups differ in their purchasing of sustainable food that saves money, by taking financial scarcity into account as potential mediating factor. Methods: Data from a correlational survey was used. A nationwide sample of 1055 respondents living across the Netherlands completed the survey. Respondents reported demographic factors, their income, whether they experienced financial scarcity, if they found the price of food important and their sustainable food purchasing. PROCESS v3.0 by Hayes was used to do a mediation analysis. Results: There was no significant relation between income and purchasing sustainable food that saves money. Neither, did income have a significant relation with purchasing sustainable food that is expensive. Financial scarcity was not found to have a mediating role between income and making sustainable food choices that save money. Importance of food price did have a significant role as a mediator between income and purchasing sustainable food that is expensive. Conclusions: Income does not have an effect on sustainable food consumption. However, the importance individuals place on the price of food does have a mediating effect on the relation between income and expensive sustainable food. Future research could examine other explanatory factors for sustainable food consumption and might focus on a different way of measuring sustainable food consumption.