Product Contamination and its Consequences for Brands: an examination of the Chinese infant milk powder scandal.

An examination of the 2008 Chinese infant milk powder scandal

Year of Publication2010

Controversies in food and agricultural marketing have an important consumer dimension, especially when they involve issues such as food scares. The effects of such scares become manifest in consumers’ attitudes which provide a valuable means for evaluating past events and predicting future behaviour. The Chinese infant milk powder scandal that took place in 2008 engendered serious consequences for Chinese branded products on the market. Chinese mothers’ confidence in the domestic infant milk powder brands was severely dented and had a profound influence on their buying behaviour. In-depth interviews with 15 Chinese mothers with babies showed that the incident significantly altered the image of domestic infant milk powder brands and led to increased interest in both breast feeding and foreign owned brands.

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