Australian consumers’ perceptions of environmental and agricultural threats: The associations of demographic and of psychographic variables

Anthony Worsley, Wei Wang, Stacey Ridley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch


Currently little is known about the ways consumers perceive the issues and threats facing the agricultural sector. Understanding of the sector among the general community is important for its continued economic, social and environmental sustainability. Therefore we conducted an on-line survey among 1026 respondents drawn from each State and Territory in Australia. Initial examination of the responses showed most respondents held protectionist views about issues such as coal seam gas mining, imported food products and subsidies for agriculture and were aware of environmental and other threats. There were few city-country differences. Tertiary educated respondents tended to hold firmer opinions and more laissez-faire views than other respondents. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed two threat dimensions, one relating to threats to soil quality, the other about pollution and the survival of native animals. Stepwise multiple regression analyses of these dimensions showed that universalist values and trust in independent scientific information sources were positively associated with threat perceptions. The findings suggest that consumers generally are aware of agricultural issues, particularly those who hold strong universalist values. The respondents’ views of policy issues diverge in several respects from prevailing views of economic orthodoxy. Future consumer communication and research opportunities are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-18
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Environmental Protection
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Agriculture
  • Environment
  • Consumers
  • Survey
  • Australia

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