The findings of this research suggest that consumer perceptions of the risks associated with beef relate not only to concerns about health and safety, but also the financial, psychological, performance and social consequences of the choices made at the point-of-purchase. Furthermore, a negative relationship is found to exist between perceived risk and interest in beef, perceived consistency, ability, experience and confidence in the local butcher. Cluster analysis highlights the existence of three segments of consumers that hold considerably different views on the risks associated with beef. Intention to consume beef differed across these segments; however the clusters did not display any significant differences on the basis of demographic variables with the one exception of age. Information sources and use differed significantly across these segments. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.