University of Oulu

Bezbaruah, S., Dhir, A., Talwar, S., Tan, T.M. and Kaur, P. (2021), "Believing and acting on fake news related to natural food: the influential role of brand trust and system trust", British Food Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

Believing and acting on fake news related to natural food : the influential role of brand trust and system trust

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Author: Bezbaruah, Subhalakshmi1; Dhir, Amandeep2,3,4; Talwar, Shalini5;
Organizations: 1Department of Marketing, Institute of Management Technology Ghaziabad, Ghaziabad, India
2School of Business and Law, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway
3Norwegian School of Hotel Management, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway
4Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
5KJ Somaiya Institute of Management, Somaiya Vidyavihar University, Mumbai, India
6Department of Marketing, Management and International Business, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-12-09


Purpose: Fake news represents a real risk for brands, particularly for firms selling essential products, such as food items. Despite this anecdotal acknowledgement, the dynamics of the relationship between fake news and brand reputation remain under-explored. The present study addresses this gap by examining the association of consumer values (universalism and openness to change), brand trust, fake news risk and system trust in the context of natural food products.

Design/methodology/approach: The study utilised a cross-sectional survey design and the mall-intercept method to collect data from 498 consumers of natural food residing in India. To test the hypotheses, which were grounded in the stimulus-organism-response (SOR) framework, the collected data were analysed using covariance-based structural equation modelling in SPSS AMOS. The conceptual model proposed universalism and openness to change as stimuli, brand trust as an internal state or organism and fake news risk — captured through the tendency of consumers to believe and act on fake news — as a response.

Findings: The findings support a positive association of universalism with brand trust and a negative association with fake news risk. In comparison, openness to change has no association with either brand trust or fake news risk. Brand trust, meanwhile, is negatively related to fake news, and this association is moderated by system trust. Furthermore, brand trust partially mediates the relationship between universalism value and fake news risk.

Originality/value: Notably, the present study is one of the first attempts to understand the fake news risk associated with natural food brands by utilising the SOR framework in an emerging market setting. The study provides interesting insights for policymakers, brands and consumers.

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Series: British food journal
ISSN: 0007-070X
ISSN-E: 1758-4108
ISSN-L: 0007-070X
DOI: 10.1108/BFJ-02-2021-0190
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher.