Purpose-The purpose of this paper is to provide an exploratory study of how Taiwanese consumer concerns about sustainability issues relating to pork are linked to their purchasing behaviours, using the case of “warm” meat. Design/methodology/approach-The study is based on qualitative semi-structured interviews of a cluster random sample of meat-purchasing consumers in Taiwan. The study data are analysed in light of grounded theory, to provide a clearer understanding of interviewees’ sustainability concerns arising from meat consumption. Findings-Results indicate that consumers do make meat-purchasing decisions based on to their sustainability concerns, and that there are a wide variety of such concerns, which can be broadly categorised as food security, animal welfare, and the environment. These implicate a variety of factors including ways of selling (e.g. fresh or frozen), the provision of information about production methods, certification, and traceability. By comparing consumers in supermarkets and traditional markets, the paper identifies divergent perspectives on food security in the context of local dining culture, and concludes that trust is a significant factor influencing purchasing behaviour. Originality/value-Prior research about consumers’ meat-purchasing habits and sustainability concerns is limited and de-contextualised. The present findings have implications for future communications to consumers, in that greater emphasis should be given to the local cultural contexts of food. It will be valuable to academics, livestock producers, consumer organisations, and policymakers interested in enhancing communication and trust between and among producers, consumers, retailers and government agencies.
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