Understanding consumer attitudes, behaviours, and intention to consume a novel food using hemp food as a model

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Food manufactured from the seed of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa were legalised in Australia for human consumption in November 2017. Despite what appears to have been a long pro legislation campaign by hemp industry stakeholders and others, the now legal status of hemp food does not seem to have been conveyed to those for whom the industry depends on for success, the Australian consumer. A mixed methods approach was adopted to evaluate consumer attitudes one year after the introduction of hemp food into the Australian consumer market. In semi-structured qualitative interviews it was found that all of the 16 participants invited to participate remained unaware of the legalisation and availability of hemp food. An incidental finding of the study identified a negative implicit bias toward consuming hemp food. An evaluation of the qualitative interviews through a constructivist lens has sought to understand implicit attitudes toward hemp through personal statements reflecting socially constructed views of hemps‘ relationship to its illicit cousin, marijuana. In the second phase of the study, more than half of a nationally representative sample (n=2354) who responded to an online quantitative questionnaire were also not aware that hemp food had been legalised. This paper reports on consumer awareness using demographics such as postcode, age, and education. The quantitative online questionnaire also employed psychometric tools to evaluate consumers‘ intention to consume hemp food, personality factors, food neophobia, factors important to food choice, as well as sensation seeking and impulse control. The relevance of each of the evaluated constructs and how they might contribute to understanding consumer attitudes, behaviours, and intention to consume hemp food is discussed. This paper represents a summary of the initial findings of a study for which there is an anticipated potential for extrapolation to consumer attitudes toward other discrete novel foods, and the role that implicit bias has in food choice. Beneficiaries in the short term include hemp producers, hemp food manufacturers, and marketing firms. Longer term beneficiaries include food producers, manufacturers and marketing firms in general, as well as clinicians who might wish to better understand the processes of food choice when developing programs which promote healthier eating behaviours to their clients.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2020
Event2nd Australian Industrial Hemp Conference - Rydges Geelong, Fremantle, Australia
Duration: 25 Feb 202028 Feb 2020


Conference2nd Australian Industrial Hemp Conference
Internet address


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