Despite a high drinkable quality, many people avoid tap water because of vague anxiety about its safety. Conjoint analysis (CA) was conducted to determine what factors are considered important for consumers’ selection of drinking water. The information provision effect was also investigated inside CA profiles using different model equations. Results indicate that the perception of the safety of tap water was much lower than that of other waters. Higher levels of water hardness and cancer risk negatively influenced selection of drinking water, while third-party certifications about taste and safety positively impacted it. When cancer risk was shown in a CA profile, the weight given to other attributes decreased. Among different socio-demographic groups, gender was important in establishing drinking water preferences with men paying less attention to the benefits of water-dispensers and certifications from third parties. Besides, age also has some influence on drinking water selection. People's consciousness of taste, safety, cost, and handling for drinking water were assessed using an analytic hierarchy process and the scores were incorporated in a CA equation. The results suggest that improving people's perceptions of the taste and safety of tap water can promote consumers’ selection of tap water as drinking water.
- conjoint analysis
- risk information
- tap water
- First received 15 October 2014.
- Accepted in revised form 8 February 2016.
- © IWA Publishing 2016