Date of Graduation

8-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology

Advisor

K. Jill Rucker

Committee Member

Betsy Garrison

Second Committee Member

Casandra Cox

Third Committee Member

Leslie D. Edgar

Keywords

Cage free, Food Literacy, GMO, Label, Labeling, Market Trends, Organic, Poultry

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge, perceptions, and preferences of adolescents in regard to the labeling of poultry products. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) and Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) were used to display the relationship of perceptions, attitude, and behavior intentions. Quantitative data was collected in a descriptive research design. The population included youth, aged 14 – 18 years, involved in the Arkansas 4-H State O’Rama competition (N = 400). The sample (n = 80) ensured a 90% confidence interval of the population. Data was collected by administering paper surveys that addressed four product labels including no added hormones, non-GMO project verified, USDA organic, and no antibiotics ever. The sample consisted primarily of white (81.7%; n = 67), females (64.6%; n = 53), who lived on a farm (59.8%; n = 49). There was a correlation between responses of understanding and trust (r = .247). Although perceived understanding was rated 70% for each of the labels, actual knowledge was determined to be 45%. Analysis of preference resulted in an ideal combination of $1.89 + USDA organic + no hormones added + non-GMO and produced a utility score of .537. Although label claims played a role in participant’s choices, price remained the most important aspect of the choices. The gap found between actual knowledge and perceived understanding of participants shows room for improvement in food literacy education. Along with confidence as a consumer, knowledge in food literacy will increase trust in products, brands, and labels even when labels were present on the products, participants chose the product with the lowest price. These adolescents placed a high priority on taste, price, and nutritional benefit. Suggestions for further research include using this instrument to conduct research with different demographics, labels, or products.

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