But it came from a Food Pantry: Product Stigma and Quality Perceptions of Food Pantry Offerings

61 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2021

See all articles by Christopher B. Barrett

Christopher B. Barrett

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management

Annette T. Byrne

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)

Teresa Whitaker

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 29 , 2021

Abstract

Among the millions of Americans who suffer from food insecurity in the United States, only a fraction utilizes the nation’s 60,000 food pantries. Stigma is commonly cited as a barrier to use. Stigma can arise from any of several sources. However, some may be due to the perceived product quality of pantry offerings. This study tests this hypothesis using data from an online survey that asks SNAP-eligible individuals to evaluate food items under different treatments. In two treatments, they are told the food is from a grocery store. In two other treatments, they are told the food is from a food pantry. In half the treatments, they are provided with a photo of the food item, indicating a popular brand. Respondents exhibit a negative perception of food from a pantry, but that perception is offset when shown an informative depiction of that food. The effect of branding is explored in a second online experiment and found to be an important component of consumer perception. Results suggest that food banks and food pantries may be able to combat product stigma through marketing that uses photos, brand names, or both to depict the quality of the products they offer.

Keywords: Private food assistance, grocery store, product evaluation, food experiment

JEL Classification: Q18, L31, C90

Suggested Citation

Barrett, Christopher B. and Byrne, Annette T. and Whitaker, Teresa, But it came from a Food Pantry: Product Stigma and Quality Perceptions of Food Pantry Offerings (September 29 , 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3950670 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3950670

Christopher B. Barrett (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management ( email )

315 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801
United States
607-255-4489 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://aem.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/cbb2/

Annette T. Byrne

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)

123 St Stephens Green
Dublin 2
Ireland

Teresa Whitaker

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
124
Abstract Views
659
Rank
421,160
PlumX Metrics