Fransen, M. L., Reinders, M. J., Bartels, J., & Maassen, R. L. (2010). The influence of regulatory fit on evaluation and intentions to buy genetically modified foods: The mediating role of social identification. Journal of Marketing Communications, 16(1), 5-20, DOI:10.1080/13527260903342696

The present study examines how communicated messages could be effective in affecting consumers’ attitudes and behavioural intentions regarding genetically modified (GM) foods. Based on Regulatory Focus Theory, it was hypothesized that exposure to a communication message matching a consumer’s regulatory orientation (i.e. regulatory fit) leads to more positive attitudes and greater willingness to buy GM foods than exposure to a communication message that does not match with consumer’s regulatory orientation. Moreover, it was expected that social identification with the consumer of GM foods mediates the relationship between both regulatory fit and attitudes and regulatory fit and behavioural intentions. The results support our hypotheses by showing that communicated messages that are congruent (vs incongruent) with consumers’ regulatory orientations enhanced social identification with the consumer of GM foods, which, in turn, positively affected attitudes and behavioural intentions. Management implications for designing informative messages regarding GM foods are discussed.
Keywords: genetically modified foods, regulatory fit, social identification, communication messages, attitudes, behavioural intentions