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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Effects of the Qualification of Potentially Misleading Claims about Production Characteristics on Buying Intention

Published: May 28, 2019


Tino Bech-Larsen, Aarhus, Denmark; Klaus Grunert, Aarhus University, MAPP Centre, Department of Management; George Tsalis, Aarhus University


Deception; Processing; Claims


The latter years have witnessed an increasing employment of ambiguous production claims in food product marketing. Such practices may potentially lead to unsubstantiated product inferences and/or to inflated buying intentions. Under certain conditions, such deceptions may be mitigated by qualifications, i.e., explanations or disclosures related to the original claims. Based on the propositions that a) qualifications may work as positive cues, even though the opposite was intended, and that b) processing constraints may facilitate the intended effects, when qualifications work as negative cues, this article discusses the results of two conjoint studies of how qualification and time-restricted processing of original animal welfare claims influence Danish consumers’ inference making and buying intentions for broiler (n=1420) and pork (n=1168) products. The results of the two studies indicate that a moderate time constraint on information processing of qualified claims, when the qualification works as a negative cue, has a negative effect on consumer’s buying intention, i.e., that the qualification scheme works as intended. When there are no time constraints and when qualification cues are positive, however, buying intentions increase, i.e., in such situations, the intentions behind the qualification scheme tend to be counteracted.