Purpose: Consumers are increasingly interested in food safety and the communication of agri-food companies plays a strategic role in satisfying customers and maintaining companies’ competitiveness. However, there is little attention in the literature on communication in agri-food SMEs, especially on issues of health and food safety. The research aims to investigate to what extent Italian Agri-food firms use communication tools to communicate food security and how this activity impacts business performance and customer engagement, from the entrepreneurial perspective. Methodology: Data were collected from 270 Italian firms operating in the agri-food industry from March to May 2022 through an online questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and regression were performed. Findings: The study reveals that Italian Agri-Food firms communicate food safety most frequently through websites, packaging, public relations, personal communication, tv/radio/press/billboards/brochures, and catalogs. Further, the website and instant messaging have a significant impact on the business performance, while the website, public relations, and tv/radio/press/billboards/brochure and catalogs have a significant impact on customer engagement. Research limitations/implications: We collected data from a single European country and the results cannot be generalized. Agri-food firms should invest more intensively in food safety communication, both in traditional and digital tools. Originality/Value: No previous studies have investigated the kinds of communication tools adopted and the intensity of their use, as well as the impact of the communication mix on business performance and customer engagement.
26th Excellence In Services International Conference EISIC / Conti, Emanuela; Gabbianelli, Linda; Pencarelli, Tonino. - (2023). (Intervento presentato al convegno 26 EISIC conference tenutosi a Glasgow nel 29-30 Agosto 2023).