Despite the abundant evidence on the adverse effects of a food safety crisis on consumers, surprisingly little research has been conducted to explain the importance of consumers who are forgiving of failure. Drawing on a social intuitionist model, this study first tests the assumption that there is a distinction between the food safety crises vs. nonfood product crises from the moral psychology perspective. The results show that a food safety crisis evokes consumers’ stronger immorality judgment than a nonfood product crisis through disgust feeling. Then, the main study investigates the role of brand identification (affective-hot) and brand attitude strength (cognitive-cold) on the moral reasoning processes, including moral rationalization and moral decoupling. Results show that brand identification is an important indicator of both moral rationalization and moral decoupling strategies, while brand attitude strength only affects the moral decoupling, thus influencing consumers’ purchase intention.
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