Online information sharing about risks: The case of organic food

Femke Hilverda*, Margôt Kuttschreuter

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Individuals have to make sense of an abundance of information to decide whether or not to purchase certain food products. One of the means to sense-making is information sharing. This article reports on a quantitative study examining online information sharing behavior regarding the risks of organic food products. An online survey among 535 respondents was conducted in the Netherlands to examine the determinants of information sharing behavior, and their relationships. Structural equation modeling was applied to test both the measurement model and the structural model. Results showed that the intention to share information online about the risks of organic food was low. Conversations and email were the preferred channels to share information; of the social media Facebook stood out. The developed model was found to provide an adequate description of the data. It explained 41% of the variance in information sharing. Injunctive norms and outcome expectancies were most important in predicting online information sharing, followed by information-related determinants. Risk-perception-related determinants showed a significant, but weak, positive relationship with online information sharing. Implications for authorities communicating on risks associated with food are addressed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1904-1920
    Number of pages17
    JournalRisk Analysis
    Issue number9
    Early online date23 Mar 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


    • Online information sharing
    • Organic food
    • Risk communication


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