Cognitive and emotional predictors of purchase behavior for fair trade chocolate

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Over the last few decades, a growing concern about ethical behavior has been a hot topic in contemporary society. An example of ethical consumption includes the movement known as fair trade. Previous research has shown that fair trade consumption has increased tremendously in the past decade. Therefore, it is of importance to establish the motives that predict fair trade consumption behavior of consumers. This research postulates that the intention of buying fair trade chocolate and the actual buying behavior of fair trade chocolate is influenced by personal values, consciousness of fair trade consumption and emotions. The study, conducted among 203 Dutch consumers, showed that power and social status values negatively predict actual purchase behavior. Besides, results indicated that the high actual purchase behavior of fair trade chocolate is linked to a high disposition to prefer products that have been manufactured and traded in compliance with fair labor conditions. Furthermore, expected positive emotional reactions to fair trade consumption showed to be a positive predictor of purchase intention and actual buying behavior of fair trade chocolate. Moreover, expected negative emotional reactions also indicated to be a positive predictor of actual buying behavior of fair trade chocolate. Lastly, additional analysis indicated that attitude towards fair trade acts as a mediator between several emotional and cognitive drivers and purchase intention and actual purchase behavior. Therefore, the main conclusion of the study is that the drivers consciousness of fair trade, positive emotions and negative emotions play a role in FT consumption behavior. Marketers can influence consumer purchases of FT chocolate especially by acting upon consumers emotions. Certain emotions can be trigged by emphasizing the positive impact an individual can make through their FT purchases. Besides, the thesis contributes to rather new analysis of the role of emotions in the field of fair trade consumption and calls for further examining its role using qualitative research methods.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen