Consumer Purchase Behaviour of Irradiated Beef Products: A Simulated Supermarket Setting


In December 1997, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of irradiation to kill harmful bacteria in beef. As a result of limited information about consumers' potential response to implementation of this technology, a supermarket simulation setting (SSS) test was conducted to assess consumer purchase behaviour. The objectives were to determine consumers' willingness to purchase irradiated beef products when provided with information at the grocery store level and consumer's perceptions towards irradiated beef. Primary household grocery shoppers (n = 207) in Griffin, Georgia, USA who consumed beef at least twice per week participated in the study. Ground beef, ground chuck, top round steak and rib eye steak were displayed in refrigerated cases in either traditionally labelled packages (non‐irradiated) or in packages labelled as irradiated. Irradiated and non‐irradiated beef had the same unit price. Participants were instructed to purchase two packages of each cut on their first shopping trip; they then shopped a second time after an informative poster about irradiation had been placed in the display cases. The results indicated that irradiation information displayed on the poster at the point of purchase was effective in causing significant change in beef purchase behaviour. The information caused some consumers who had bought traditional packages initially to buy irradiated packages subsequently while others who bought irradiated packages initially subsequently bought traditional packages. Hence, the net effect of the information was minimal. A mean test across form/cut showed that consumers did not differentiate between the ground form and the muscle form in selecting irradiated packages.

Document Type





consumer purchase behaviour, irradiated beef, simulated supermarket setting

Publication Date


Journal Title

International Journal of Consumer Studies