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How do consumers search for and process corporate social responsibility information on food companies’ websites?
The importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication for food companies has grown substantially ever since global action plans such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals have begun targeting topics which are highly relevant to food companies. Furthermore, various food scandals have caused consumers to question current food production methods, leading to a search for more information on ethical production methods. However, it is not known how consumers search for and process information on websites as one relevant CSR communication channel. The objective of this study is to develop requirements for consumer-aligned CSR communication on corporate websites. Information search and processing was examined through consumers’ navigation behavior on websites and by conducting think-aloud protocols. The findings of this study suggest companies provide comprehensive information that can easily be filtered. Furthermore, companies should present specific information to credibly distance themselves from greenwashing accusations, e.g. by referring to external evidence.