Food Protection Trends - July/August 2017 - 250

Media preference
The vast majority of the participants (96%) indicated that
they have looked for information about foodborne illness
outbreaks, which demonstrates the high interest consumers
have in foodborne illness outbreak information. In general,
consumers preferred to obtain foodborne illness outbreak
information from the Internet rather than from other
types of media (Table 2). The calculated preference scores
indicated that the Internet received the highest average
among the media with 3.62 points. This result is consistent
with the results related to participants' current practices in
looking for information about foodborne illness outbreaks;
the Internet is the most commonly used medium, with
37.7% of participants indicating it as their chosen media.
Face-to-face communication (25.2%) and TV (15.4%) are
also used to gather foodborne illness outbreak information.
Interestingly, while the Internet was the most preferred
medium for a great number of participants (43%), some
consumers ranked it as their least preferred choice
(13%); see Table 2. Although not noticeably different
in demographic characteristics from the rest of the
sample (insignificant results of t-tests), this group of
consumers, as shown by their responses to an open-ended
question, was particularly concerned about information
accuracy and trustworthiness; they felt it was sometimes
hard to determine the accuracy and trustworthiness
of information communicated over the Internet and
preferred face-to-face exchanges.

Among the Internet-based platforms, the first choice for
slightly more than half of the participants (55%) was to use
websites to find foodborne illness outbreak information.
Among social media sites, Facebook was ranked highest,
with 24% indicating it as their first choice. Although
Twitter is considered a platform for news releases and
timely updates (11, 30), it was least often selected as the
respondents' first choice (4%). These results were also
observed in the overall preference scores: Web sites ranked
the highest (3.27), followed by Facebook (2.78) (Table 2).
Priorities in media selection
To better understand reasons behind consumer media
preferences, participants were asked for their priorities in
media selection. ANOVA and post-hoc Tukey comparison
results suggest that the criteria used to evaluate Internet
platforms/sites carried different weights (F = 186.254,
P < 0.001). Media, information/content, and source
characteristics were all important in evaluation and
selection of a medium. More specifically, information
quality (accuracy and timeliness) carried the most weight
in the evaluations of an Internet-based platform. The most
important media characteristic was that the platform had a
search function (Table 3).
Results suggest that social media's characteristics do not
match consumers' priorities when seeking foodborne illness
outbreak information from the media. Social media support
more personalization and interactions, which this study

TABLE 2. Consumer media preference based on calculated preference score
Mediaa

Preference score

Internet
TV
Face to face
Newspaper, book, magazine, or other printed material
Phone call or texts

3.62
3.13
2.92
2.81
2.52

Internet based platformb

Preference score

Websites
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

3.27
2.78
2.09
1.76

Assigning 5 points every time someone picked that medium as their number one choice, 3 points for a second choice, 2 points for a
third, and 1 point for a fourth choice, after which an average was created by dividing by the number of respondents.
a

Assigning 4 points every time someone picked that Internet platform as their number one choice, 3 points for a second choice, 2
points for a third, and 1 point for a fourth choice, after which an average was created by dividing by the number of respondents.

b

250

Food Protection Trends July/August



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Protection Trends - July/August 2017

Contents
Food Protection Trends - July/August 2017 - Cover1
Food Protection Trends - July/August 2017 - Cover2
Food Protection Trends - July/August 2017 - Contents
Food Protection Trends - July/August 2017 - 234
Food Protection Trends - July/August 2017 - 235
Food Protection Trends - July/August 2017 - 236
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Food Protection Trends - July/August 2017 - Cover3
Food Protection Trends - July/August 2017 - Cover4
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