ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

This paper integrates and synthesizes the findings of published research on organic food consumption. We identify several themes that reflect the various rationales used by consumers when deciding to purchase organic food. The literature clearly indicates that the word “organic” has many meanings, that consumers of organic foods are not homogeneous in demographics or in beliefs, and that further research could help better describe the various constituencies that are often lumped together as “organic food consumers”. The organic and broader food industries must better understand the variety of motivations, perceptions, and attitudes consumers hold regarding organic foods and their consumption if their own long-term interests, as well as those of other stakeholders of food marketing, are to be best served. We conclude with implications and suggestions for further research. Copyright
Content may be subject to copyright.
THE ATRIUM, SOUTHERN GATE, CHICHESTER, WEST SUSSEX P019 8SQ
***IMMEDIATE RESPONSE REQUIRED***
Your article may be published online via Wiley's EarlyView® service (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/) shortly after receipt of
corrections. EarlyView® is Wiley's online publication of individual articles in full-text HTML and/or pdf format before release of the
compiled print issue of the journal. Articles posted online in EarlyView® are peer-reviewed, copy-edited, author-corrected, and fully
citable via the article DOI (for further information, visit www.doi.org). EarlyView® means you benefit from the best of two worlds - fast
online availability as well as traditional, issue-based archiving.
Please follow these instructions to avoid delay of publication
READ PROOFS CAREFULLY
This will be your only chance to review these proofs. Please note that once your corrected article is posted online, it is considered
legally published, and cannot be removed from the Web site for further corrections.
Please note that the volume and page numbers shown on the proofs are for position only.
ANSWER ALL QUERIES ON PROOFS (Queries for you to answer are attached as the last page of your proof.)
List all corrections and send back via e-mail to the production contact as detailed in the covering e-mail, or mark all corrections directly
on the proofs and send the scanned copy via e-mail. Please do not send corrections by fax or in the post.
CHECK FIGURES AND TABLES CAREFULLY
Check size, numbering, and orientation of figures.
All images in the PDF are downsampled (reduced to lower resolution and file size) to facilitate Internet delivery. These images will appear
at higher resolution and sharpness in the printed article.
Review figure legends to ensure that they are complete.
Check all tables. Review layout, title, and footnotes.
COMPLETE CTA (if you have not already signed one)
Please send a scanned copy with your proofs. We cannot publish your paper until we receive the signed form.
OFFPRINTS
25 complimentary offprints of your article will be dispatched on publication. Please ensure that the correspondence address on your
proofs is correct for despatch of the offprints. If your delivery address has changed, please inform the production contact for the journal -
details in the covering e-mail. Please allow six weeks for delivery.
Additional reprint and journal issue purchases
Additional paper reprints (minimum quantity 100 copies) are available on publication to contributors. Quotations may be
requested from mailto:author_reprints@wiley.co.uk. Orders for additional paper reprints may be placed in advance in
order to ensure that they are fulfilled in a timely manner on publication of the article in question. Please note that offprints
and reprints will be dispatched under separate cover.
PDF files of individual articles may be purchased for personal use for $25 via Wiley’s Pay-Per-View service (see
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/aboutus/ppv-articleselect.html).
Please note that regardless of the form in which they are acquired, reprints should not be resold, nor further disseminated
in electronic or print form, nor deployed in part or in whole in any marketing, promotional or educational contexts without
further discussion with Wiley. Permissions requests should be directed to mailto:permreq@wiley.co.uk
Lead authors are cordially invited to remind their co-authors that the reprint opportunities detailed above are also available
to them.
If you wish to purchase print copies of the issue in which your article appears, please contact our Journals Fulfilment
Department mailto:cs-journals@wiley.co.uk when you receive your complimentary offprints or when your article is
published online in an issue. Please quote the Volume/Issue in which your article appears.
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
Who are organic food consumers?
A compilation and review of why
people purchase organic food
Rene
´eShawHughner
*, Pierre McDonagh, Andrea Prothero,
Clifford J. Shultz II and Julie Stanton
Morrison School of Agribusiness
Q1
and Resource Management, Arizona State University, 7001 E.
Williams Field Rd., Wanner Hall, Mesa, AZ 85212, USA
This paper integrates and synthesizes the findings of published research on organic food con-
sumption. We identify several themes that reflect the various rationales used by con-
sumers when deciding to purchase organic food. The literature clearly indicates that the word
‘‘organic’’ has many meanings, that consumers of organic foods are not homogeneous in
demographics or in beliefs, and that further research could help better describe the various
constituencies that are often lumped together as ‘‘organic food consumers’’. The organic
and broader food industries must better understand the variety of motivations, percep-
tions, and attitudes consumers hold regarding organic foods and their consumption if
their own long-term interests, as well as those of other stakeholders of food marketing, are
to be best served. We conclude with implications and suggestions for further research.
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Introduction
Interest in organic food has grown remarkably
as consumers and marketers react to popular
media about health and environmental effects
of pesticides, genetically-modified organisms,
and food safety. This gradual evolution of
attitudes toward the origins of the food we eat
has not been sufficiently captured in most of
the published literature about food-purchasing
behavior. Indeed, the rising popularity of
organic foods – a multi-billion dollar global
industry with accelerating growth – raises
important questions of interest to govern-
ments, growers, distributors, retailers, industry
planners, and marketers. Among those ques-
tions are: (1) Who is the organic food
consumer? (2) What are the forces and factors
driving organic food consumption? (3) What
will the organic market look like in the future?
(4) What, if any, policies should be imple-
mented to abet this market and consumer
welfare? The purpose of this paper is to
synthesize the findings of published studies
and thereby to begin answering these ques-
tions.
Answering such questions requires recog-
nition of the complexity and diversity of
consumer decision-making vis-a
`-vis organics.
One must first understand that individuals
Journal of Consumer Behaviour
J. Consumer Behav. 6: 1–17 (2007)
Published online in Wiley InterScience
(www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/cb.210
*Correspondence to: Rene
´e Shaw Hughner, Morrison
School of Agribusiness and Resource Management,
Arizona State University, 7001 E. Williams Field Rd.,
Wanner Hall, Mesa, AZ 85212, USA. Tel: 480-727-1570.
Fax: 480-727-1961.
E-mail: renee.hughner@asu.edu
Q1
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
interpret the term organic in a variety of ways
and in a multitude of contexts. Consumer
purchase decisions are based on subjective
experiences and perceptions of organic foods.
Therefore, in this paper we compile findings
from extant studies to extract the themes that
can serve as the foundation for more in-depth
research on organic food consumption. We
identify several themes that reveal individuals’
perceptions of organic food. We also identify
specific advances needed in our understanding
of the topic to provide a guide for future
studies. Our goal is to provide lessons about
organic food consumers to the various stake-
holders – growers, retailers/marketers, policy-
makers, and special interest groups – such that
their strategies better reflect consumer inter-
ests and perceptions.
The global organic market
Published findings have produced commonal-
ities and contradictions and so it is difficult to
say with confidence what the size of the global
organic market actually is. It is possible,
however, to make a number of observations.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the
organic market is growing; it has increased
considerably in recent years and is frequently
regarded as one of the biggest growth markets
in the food industry. The global market for
organic food was estimated at US$ 20 billion in
2002 (Fitzpatrick, 2002). In the United King-
dom, the organic food market increased four-
fold between 1988 and 1993 (Drummond
Q2
,
1995), and doubled again between 1996 and
1999 (DataMonitor in Murphy, 1999). Demand
for organic food was up 40 per cent in 1999
and 55 per cent in 2000 and sales reportedly
increased from £100 million in 1994 to £605
million in 2000 (Palmer, 2001). The market
likely will be worth £1.47 billion in 2005
(Boxall
Q3
, 2000), thus supporting claims that
the UK organic food market can now be
classified as mainstream rather than a niche
market (Palmer, 2001). In Europe, more
broadly, it has been estimated that sales of
organic food will increase at a rate of 20 per
cent per annum.
The U.S. market has grown similarly. Sales
increased from $78 million in 1980 to
approximately $6 billion in 2000 (e.g., McDo-
nald, 2000; Miller, 1996), with an average
annual increase of 24 per cent during the
1990s (Organic Trade
Q4
Association, 2001).
These trends suggest sales in the market will
exceed $20 billion by 2005 (Organic Trade
Association, 2001; Soil Association, 2003).
Despite this global growth in consumer
demand and sales, the organic food market is
still relatively small. Organic farming globally
constitutes a very small percentage of overall
farming, as little as one per cent of farming in
most OECD countries. However, organic
farming is generally on the rise. In the United
States, while conventional farming is decreas-
ing, organic farming is increasing by 12 per
cent annually. Organic farmers are also begin-
ning to receive more government aid – a trend
that is expected to increase in the future
(McDonald, 2000). Given the rapid and
accelerating growth of the organic food
market, an assessment of organic food con-
sumers seems imperative.
Procedures
The focus of this research is twofold: one, to
review and synthesize the research concerned
with identifying organic consumers and two,
to identify the reasons why consumers pur-
chase and fail to purchase organic food. The
volume of research in recent years pertaining
to understanding organic consumers and
consumer attitudes toward organic food has
been immense. As organic food continues to
permeate the grocery landscape, it is import-
ant that researchers are mindful of what has
been learned, as well as the areas that have yet
to be understood.
Several steps were used in selecting the
literature to be reviewed. First, we conducted a
broad, interdisciplinary search for research
related to organic food published in the last 20
years (1985–2005). Databases such as ABI
Inform Global Edition, AGRICOLA, Sociologi-
cal Abstracts, PsychInfo, and EBSCO provided
Q2
Q3
Q4
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
2 Rene
´
e Shaw Hughner et al.
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
hundreds of citations published since 1985,
most since 1990. Following Hart’s (1998)
review guidelines, we then narrowed the
focus to include only empirical studies identi-
fying consumers’ beliefs about and/or beha-
viors toward organic food. This means we
eliminated all non-empirical – conceptual and
editorial – articles. We also eliminated research
focused on associated topics (e.g., GMO foods,
animal welfare), as well as research related to
organic farming and production methods.
Although conclusions vary substantially across
the sample of studies identified (see Table 1
for an overview), we sought common themes
that transcended study method or population
sampled. Fifteen themes that related to con-
sumers’ opinions, feelings, intentions, and/or
consumption behavior concerning organic
food were identified. Table 2 provides an
overview of the themes identified.
Organic food consumers
Considerable confusion surrounding the term
‘organic’ still exists (Chryssochoidis 2000).
While many consumers have heard of the term
and are aware of its central features – namely,
that it is chemical-free – most are unfamiliar
with organic farming standards and practices
(Davies et al., 1995; Harper and Makatouni,
2002; Hill and Lynchehaun, 2002). Further-
more, variables such as the level of market
development, the use of other positively
associated food terms (e.g., ‘cage-free’ and
‘natural’) and the product category (e.g.,
farmed salmon) can serve to heighten con-
sumer confusion (Hutchins and Greenhalgh,
1995; Fotopoulos and Krystallis, 2002; Aarset
et al., 2004).
While findings across research studies using
demographic profiling are sometimes contra-
dictory, there have been some consistent
results that have emerged across studies. In
general, consumers of organic food are female
(Davies et al., 1995; Food Marketing Institute,
2001), have children living in the household
(Thompson and Kidwell, 1998) and are older
(Roddy et al., 1996; Schifferstein and Ophuis
1998; Cicia et al., 2002). Interestingly, younger
consumers have been found to hold more
positive attitudes toward organically grown
food (Magnusson et al., 2001), yet older
consumers are more likely to be purchasers.
One explanation is that the price premiums on
organic food may be more affordable by older
respondents. Hill and Lynchehaun
Q5
(2001)
note that families are often introduced to
organic food with the arrival of a baby.
‘‘Parents take a huge interest in the food they
buy for their family and increasingly many new
parents are buying organic baby food. This is
dramatically changing family eating habits’’ (p.
530).
Attempts to classify organic food purchasers
by income and education have been mixed.
Studies have found both negative and positive
relationships between these demographic
variables and organic food preference (Wilkins
and Hillers, 1994; Chinnici et al., 2002;
O’Donovan and McCarthy, 2002). In other
research, results have been inconclusive (Jolly,
1991).
Research has also focused on identifying a
more comprehensive, psychographic profile of
the regular consumer of organic foods (RCOF).
For RCOFs, ‘‘organic food consumption is part
of a way of life. It results from an ideology,
connected to a particular value system, that
affects personality measures, attitudes, and
consumption behavior’’ (Schifferstein and
Ophuis, 1998, p.119). The values of altruism
(relationship with others), ecology (harmony
with the universe and sustainable future),
universalism (protection of the welfare of all
people and nature), benevolence (enhancing
the welfare of people with whom one is in
frequent personal contact), spirituality (inner-
harmony and unity with nature), and self-
direction (independent thought and action)
have all been connected to regular consumers
of organic foods (Grunert and Juhl, 1995;
Makatouni, 2002; Zanoli and Naspetti, 2002;
Fotopoulos, Krystallis and Ness, 2003).
Consequently, organic food consumption is
often related to an alternative lifestyle that
includes active environmentalism, vegetarianism,
Q5
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
Who are organic food consumers? 3
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
Table 1. Illustrative research pertaining to consumers and organic food
References Country of research Method and findings
Aarset et al. (2004) Germany Norway UK
France Spain
Group panel discussions—explored consumers’ perceptions of ‘organic’, ‘organic salmon’,
and the role of regulatory authorities. Found considerable confusion as to what constitutes
organic salmon and differences in opinion with respect to the role regulatory agencies
should play.
Fotopoulos et al. (2003) Greece Qualitative interviewsrelated wine choice to consumers’ value structures. For buyers of
organic wine, attributes led to values of searching for pleasure in life, healthiness-long life,
and the pursuit of quality. Other product attributes satisfied needs for information and
ethnocentrism. Healthiness, quality, information, attractiveness, and good taste were the
main motivational benefits of wine purchase; distinction between organic and non-buyers
is in order of importance.
Magnusson et al. (2003) Sweden Mail Questionnaire—self-report purchase of organic foods was most strongly related to
perceived benefit for human health. Performance of environmentally friendly behaviors
were good predictors of purchase frequency. Egoistic motives are better predictors of the
purchase of organic foods than are altruistic motives.
Canavari et al. (2002) Italy Survey—examined attitudes towards organic apples and consumer WTP. Most willing to
pay a premium to eliminate pesticides; those not cited skepticism over ability to eliminate
pesticides or believed consumers should not have to pay for food safety. Three covariates
impact WTP: higher education, amount of fruit consumed, and perceived environmental
effect of organic agriculture.
Chinnici et al. (2002) Italy Questionnaire reasons consumers try organic food: health, curiosity, and environment.
Four segments of organic consumers: ‘pioneers’ (purchase at the supermarket out of
curiosity); ‘nostalgic’ (associate organic produce with the past); ‘health conscious’
(regularly purchase organic produce due to health concerns; prefer specialized retailers
and expect to pay a premium), and ‘pragmatist’ (are knowledgeable, but price-sensitive).
Cicia et al. (2002) Italy Survey questionnaireRCOF are part of a homogeneous segment, often related to
alternative lifestyle. Include active environmentalists, vegetarians, and alternative medicine
practitioners. Other findings: organic food bought in specialty shops, most willing to pay
price premiums, and certification boards are not equally trusted.
Fotopoulos et al. (2002) Greece Questionnaire—examined attitudes and behaviors of buyers and non-buyers of organic
food. Found three consumer groups: the Unaware; the Aware non-buyers; and Buyers of
organic food. Psychographic patterns were identified for these segments. Organic buyers
were further segmented into four groups: the ‘‘Explorers’’, ‘‘Greens’’, ‘‘Motivateds’’,
and ‘‘Price sensitives’’.
(Continues)
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
4 Rene
´
e Shaw Hughner et al.
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
Table 1. (Continued)
References Country of research Method and findings
Soler et al. (2002) Spain Experimental auction marketexamined consumers’ willingness to pay for organic
olive oil. Format of information (personally communicated vs. written) affected WTP.
Decision to buy organic rests upon two steps: one, individuals’ environmental or food
safety concerns and two, amount to pay was associated with socio-economic variables.
Makatouni (2002) U.K. Interviews—RCOFs perceive organic food as a means of achieving individual and social
values. Most significant motive for choosing organic is centered on the health factor.
Values centered on the environment and animal welfare also important.
Harper and Makatouni (2002) U.K. Focus group consumers tend to confuse organic and free-range products. Health and
food safety concerns are the main motives for purchasing organic food. Animal welfare
is used as an indicator of other product attributes, such as safety and health.
Hill and Lynchehaun (2002) U.K. Focus groups and secondary data developed a model that posits the purchase of
organic milk. Purchase depends upon a variety of factors: knowledge factors, personal
factors, intrinsic factors cultural and social factors, uncontrollable factors, and extrinsic
factors.
Canavari et al. (2002) Italy Mail survey and interview questionnaire— explored consumer attitudes towards organic
apples by analyzing the price-quantity-quality relationship. The first in a series of
research to be conducted; finds further research needed.
Zanoli and Naspetti (2002) Italy Interviews—used means-end chain models to link product attributes to consumer
needs. Occasional consumers attracted by personal satisfaction; important values are
‘‘accomplishment and pleasure’’ and ‘‘to get the most from life’’. RCOFs are guided by
the values of ‘‘altruism/relationship with others’’ and ‘‘ecology, harmony with the
universe and sustainable future’’.
O’Donovan, and McCarthy
(2002)
Ireland Interview questionnaire examined Irish consumers’ perceptions of organic meat.
Organic meat purchasers placed more importance on food safety and health and believed
organic meat superior in terms of quality, safety, labeling, production methods, and value.
Availability and price were identified as deterrents; higher socio-economic groups more
willing to purchase.
Torjusen et al. (2001) Norway Survey—food quality traits such as freshness and taste, termed ‘‘observation traits’’, were
important to all consumers. Organic food purchasers were more concerned about
ethical, environmental, and health issues, termed ‘‘reflection traits’’. Three consumer
orientations were identified: practical, local, and social.
Squires et al. (2001) Denmark New Zealand A cross-cultural study of organic food consumption. Relationships between health and
diet concern, environmental concern, confidence in the food industry, demographic
characteristics, and intensity of organic food consumption of consumers from mature and
novice organic food industries were investigated. Conceptual frameworks evaluated to
predict priority of concerns related to the level of organic market development
(Continues)
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
Who are organic food consumers? 5
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
Table 1. (Continued)
References Country of research Method and findings
Magnusson et al. (2001) Sweden Mail survey—most respondents held positive attitudes toward organic, but rarely
purchased. Most important criterion, ‘‘good taste’’; least important, ‘‘organically
produced’’. Organic foods perceived to be more expensive and healthier than
conventionally produced food, but high price a deterrent.
Loureiro et al. (2001) United States Survey—looked at consumers’ apple choices. Finds the presence of children under 18 in
the household, higher food safety, and environmental concerns increase the likelihood
a consumer will choose organic apple.
Chryssochoidis (2000) Greece Questionnaire—explored attitudes toward organic food products. Variables not significant
in organic purchase intention: ecological consciousness, purchasing in a thoughtful
manner, food’s appearance, and respondent age and income. Respondents think there
are differences between organic and conventional products, but consider the actual
differences to be insignificant.
Thompson and Kidwell (1998) United States Actual choices in specialty and co-op retail outlets. ‘Store choice’ affects the probability of
purchasing organic. ‘Propensity to purchase organic’ and ‘level of income’ predicted store
choice. Higher income households more likely to choose specialty grocer (less likely to
purchase organic). Households with children more likely, higher- educated consumers
less likely, to purchase organic.
Schifferstein and Ophuis (1998) Netherlands Written survey—compared organic food buyers to general population. Organic buyers
believed themselves more responsible for their health and were more likely to undertake
preventive health action. Reasons organic foods purchased included: wholesomeness,
absence of chemicals, environmental friendliness and taste. Suggests organic food
consumption is part of a way of life.
Huang (1996) U.S. Georgia Mail survey consumers who are nutritionally conscious and concerned about pesticide
use have a higher propensity to prefer organically grown produce. Testing and
certification, sensory qualities and competitive pricing are most important in enhancing
marketing potential.
Roddy et al. (1996) Ireland Written survey— identified nine segments of consumers based on their food attitudes.
Five groups possessed positive attitudes to organic food; propensity to purchase organic
food reflected in only two groups. Positive attitudes related to the quality, safety, health,
taste and environment. Neutral or negative attitudes due to: satisfaction with current
food, expense, and lack of perceived environmental benefit.
Davies et al. (1995) Ireland Interviews and survey examined actual behavior. Main reasons for purchasing organic
foods: health, environment and taste, respectively. Predominant reasons for not
purchasing: availability and price. Gender (female), level of disposable income, and
presence of children indicate higher likelihood of organic food purchase. Environmental
concern does not necessarily inform organic purchasing behavior.
(Continues)
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
6 Rene
´
e Shaw Hughner et al.
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
Table 1. (Continued)
References Country of research Method and findings
Hutchins and Greenhalgh (1995) United Kingdom Survey—considerable confusion existed concerning organic. among organic purchasers,
health, and children were most important reasons. All respondents desired organic food
to be available in supermarkets. Respondents’ willing to pay higher premiums for
organic meat than for produce
Grunert and Juhl (1995) Denmark Written survey—respondents with strong environmental attitudes were more likely to
buy organic foods. The top values for respondents holding strong environmental
attitudes were: protecting the environment, unity with nature and mature love.
Roddy et al. (1994) Ireland Focus group— none of the participants had bought organic food; but held favorable
beliefs about organic foods’ attributes. Negative attitudes arose with regard to price,
availability, promotion and packaging. The need for more marketing and promotion
to increase awareness was expressed.
Wilkins and Hillers (1994) Washington, U.S. Questionnaire compared to general population, members of a food co-op had stronger
attitudes about food and environmental issues, and a higher preference for, and more
frequent consumption of, organic food. Pesticide residue concern was an explanatory
variable for organic food preference in both groups; however, environmental concern
was not an explanatory variable for either group.
Tregear et al. (1994) United Kingdom Mail and telephone surveys organic produce perceived to be healthy, environmentally
friendly, and better tasting than conventional. Appearance not a disincentive to
purchase; expense was.
Byrne et al. (1992) U.S. Delaware Survey—freshness, flavor, and nutrition were most influential in consumer food purchase
decisions. Revealed consumers’ confusion pertaining to organic produce. Majority of
consumers satisfied with conventional fresh produce. Education was inversely correlated
with organic purchases; females more likely to purchase organic produce and; availability
was top deterrent.
Goldman and Clancy (1991) U.S. New York Surveyed food co-op shoppersexplored relationship between organic produce purchases
and attitudes related to pesticide use and food costs. Regular purchasers of organic produce
had higher levels of concern about food safety and were less concerned about price, insects,
and surface blemishes. No relationship between income and frequency of organic purchases
found.
Ott (1990) U.S. Questionnaire surveysurveyed all consumers; half expressed concern about pesticide use.
Two-thirds were WTP higher prices to obtain certified pesticide-free produce, but were
unwilling to accept cosmetic defects. Shoppers preferred certification by independent
laboratories. White, college-educated, middle-to-higher income shoppers identified as
potential target market.
Jolly (1991) U.S. California Mail survey—found safety, freshness, general health benefits, nutritional value,
environmental effect, flavor, and appearance of product were important in choosing
organic foods
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
Who are organic food consumers? 7
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
and/or alternative medicine (Cicia et al., 2002).
Research has found that RCOFs are high
internal locus of control individuals who
believe in self-responsibility for health and
are more likely to undertake preventative
health action (Makatouni, 2002). In general,
RCOFs strongly associate health with diet,
believe that eating healthily is more effective
than medication in managing illness, and strive
to stay abreast of the latest advancements in
health and nutrition research (Schifferstein and
Ophuis, 1998; Squires et al., 2001). Zanoli and
Naspetti (2002) found health to be the most
important motive in the purchase of organic
foods among both regular and occasional
consumers of organic food. For regular
purchasers, health attributes were found to
be associated with the transcendental values of
altruism and ecology; occasional consumers, in
contrast, were motivated by personal goals of
‘pleasure’ and ‘getting the most from life’.
In addition, RCOFs are characterized by
environmental and animal welfare concerns
(Schifferstein and Ophuis, 1998), hold positive
attitudes towards cooking and grocery shop-
ping, and have a tendency to be less religious
(Wilkins and Hillers, 1994).
Motives for the purchase and
non-purchase of organic food
Fifteen themes integrate the results of studies
explaining consumer attitudes toward organic
food. These themes are classified into two
broad areas: consumers’ purchasing motives
and hindrances to purchasing.
Consumers’ motives
Theme 1: Is healthier
The overwhelming majority of studies find
‘health’ to be the primary reason consumers
buy organic foods (Tregear et al., 1994; Huang,
1996; Hutchins and Greenhalgh
Q6
, 1997;
Schifferstein and Ophuis, 1998; Chinnici
et al., 2002; Zanoli and Naspetti, 2002).
Consumers buy organic because of their desire
to avoid the chemicals used in conventional
food production (Ott, 1990; Jolly, 1991;
Wilkins and Hillers, 1994). The use of
pesticides is perceived to be associated with
long-term and unknown effects on health
(Hammit, 1990). Perceived healthiness of
organic food is a parameter of quality for
many consumers (Wandel and Bugge, 1997;
Magnusson et al., 2001). Some studies have
found that consumers believe organic food to
be more nutritious (Jolly, 1991; Hill and
Lynchehaun, 2002). Noteworthy, to date there
has not been conclusive evidence that organic
food is more nutritious (Williams, 2002).
Magnusson et al. (2003) find that health
concern is a better predictor of the purchase
of organic food than concern for the environ-
ment, and conclude that egoistic motives are
better predictors of the purchase of organic
foods than are altruistic motives.
Theme 2: Tastes better
Several studies have found ‘taste’ to be among
the most important criteria in organic food
purchases (Roddy et al., 1996; Schifferstein
and Ophuis, 1998; Magnusson et al., 2001).
Hill and Lynchehaun (2002) suggest that
because of the high prices associated with
Table 2. Themes identified among buyers and
non-buyers of organic food
I. Consumers’ purchasing motives
Theme 1. Health and nutritional concern
Theme 2. Superior taste
Theme 3. Concern for the environment
Theme 4. Food safety, lack of confidence
in the conventional food industry
Theme 5. Concern over animal welfare
Theme 6. Support of local economy
Theme 7. More wholesome
Theme 8. Nostalgia
Theme 9. Fashionable/Curiosity
II. Deterrents
Theme 10. High price premiums
Theme 11. Lack of organic food availability,
poor merchandising
Theme 12. Skepticism of certification boards
and organic labels
Theme 13. Insufficient marketing
Theme 14. Satisfaction with current food source
Theme 15. Sensory defects
Q6
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
8 Rene
´
e Shaw Hughner et al.
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
organic food, consumers perceive organic food
to be higher quality than conventionally grown
food, which informs their perceptions of taste.
Interestingly, Fillion and Arazi (2002) con-
ducted a series of blind taste-tests between
organic and non-organic orange juice and milk.
They found that organic orange juice was
perceived as tasting better than conventional
orange juice; however, no differences were
found between organic and conventional milk.
The authors concluded that the global claim
‘organic food tastes better’ is thus not valid for
all organic food categories. Nonetheless, con-
sumers of organic food do perceive taste
advantages over conventional alternatives.
Theme 3: Environmental concern
Many studies have found environmental con-
cern to be a factor in consumers’ attitudes
towards organic foods (Roddy et al., 1996;
Wandel and Bugge, 1997; Squires et al., 2001;
Soler et al., 2002). Organic consumers view the
chemicals and pesticides used in conventional
food products as being environmentally harm-
ful, while organic foods are perceived as being
environmentally friendly (Ott, 1990; Jolly,
1991; Wilkins and Hillers, 1994). Though
environmental concern has been demon-
strated to have a favorable influence on
consumer attitudes, many studies have found
that it is not a driving factor of organic food
purchase. Rather, perceptions of good health,
nutrients, and taste are more important in the
purchase of organic food (Mitsostergios and
Skiadas, 1994; Tregear et al., 1994; Shifferstein
and Ophuis, 1998; Zanoli and Naspetti, 2002;
Magnusson et al., 2003).
Theme 4: Concern over food safety
Concern about food safety has also been
identified as a reason for the purchase of
organically-produced food (Jolly, 1991; Schif-
ferstein and Ophuis, 1998; Soler et al., 2002).
Recent food scares such as BSE (mad cow
disease), foot and mouth, salmonella, and
Escherichia coli 0157 outbreaks have con-
tributed to increasing concerns about conven-
tional food production methods. One study
even found that after the September 11
terrorist attacks in the United States, American
respondents reported increased intention to
purchase organic food (Organic Consumers
Association, 2001). Some research has
suggested that consumers view organic farm-
ing methods to be safer than conventional
intensive farming (Lacy, 1992; Kouba, 2003).
Of note, many studies did not clearly define the
‘food safety’ construct (e.g., Squires et al.,
2001), leaving it to the respondent to develop
their own interpretations.
Theme 5: Concern over animal welfare
Expectations of better animal welfare in
organic production systems also motivate
organic buyers, though to a lesser extent than
do health and environmental concerns (Hill
and Lynchehaun, 2002; Aarset et al., 2004).
Animal welfare is a multi-level construct which
contains both nutritional and social com-
ponents; it is used by respondents as an
indicator of food quality, food safety, and
humane treatment of livestock (Torjusen et al.
2001; Harper and Makatouni, 2002).
Theme 6: Supports local economy
and helps to sustain traditional cooking
Some research has found that people have
favorable attitudes toward and/or buy organic
food because they believe it supports the local
economy. This most probably reflects a belief
that organic food is locally grown, perhaps by
smaller, family-owned farms. Somewhat
related, Fotopoulos and Krystallis (2002) note
that Greek organic food buyers have strong
ethnocentric tendencies in food-related mat-
ters and use this as a purchase criterion.
Themes 7 through 9: Is wholesome,
reminiscent of the past, and fashionable
Themes 7 through 9 are discussed briefly in
one paragraph since these findings have either
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
Who are organic food consumers? 9
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
not been widely found and/or elucidated.
Schifferstein and Ophuis (1998) found that
consumers perceived organic food to be more
wholesome. It is unclear, however, what
respondents meant by ‘wholesome’. Hill and
Lynchehaun (2002) suggest that some people
now perceive organic food to be fashionable
because of the considerable coverage in the
media it has received, the recent promotional
campaigns and the high prices associated with
organic food. Chinnici et al. (2002) found one
segment of consumers whose purchase of
organic food is motivated mainly by curiosity.
Lastly, Chinnici et al. (2002) identified a
‘‘nostalgic’’ segment of respondents who
‘‘associate the consumption of organic pro-
duce with the genuineness and tastes of the
past’’ (p. 194).
The rankings of the aforementioned reasons
consumers buy organic foods may differ
among countries and may change over time
(Davies et al., 1995). Squires et al. (2001, p. 9)
note that appropriate ranking ‘‘requires an
understanding of macroenvironmental
elements such as health care and public
educational programs, as well as market
characteristics’’. While this may be, the
findings of the dozens of research studies
reviewed for this paper revealed that health
was consumers’ primary reason for the
purchase of organic food. Taste (quality) and
environmental concerns usually followed as
top-ranked reasons. Denmark is a notable
exception to this finding, where one’s environ-
mental concern seems to be the primary
motivator among respondents.
Closing in on the attitude-behavior
gapdeterrents to purchase
Despite the generally favorable attitudes con-
sumers hold, research has illustrated a dis-
crepancy between consumer attitudes towards
organic food and actual purchase behavior
(Roddy et al., 1996). As an example, Magnus-
son et al. (2001) found that between 46 and
67 per cent of the population, depending upon
the food category, held positive attitudes
toward organic food; however, only four to
ten per cent of the same consumers indicated
an intention to purchase those foods. The
following section is a synthesis of the factors
which dissuade consumers from purchasing
organic foods.
Theme 10: Rejection of high prices
The high price of organic food has been found
to be the main obstacle in its purchase (Byrne
et al., 1992; Tregear et al., 1994; Roddy et al.,
1996; Magnusson et al., 2001; Zanoli and
Naspetti, 2002). As a result, willingness to pay
(WTP) has been the focus of several studies.
Research has found that consumers are willing,
at least hypothetically, to pay a premium for
organically grown food; however, many are
not willing to pay as much as the current
market price premiums (Millock 2002).
Few studies have looked at the factors that
influence WTP. Soler et al. (2002) found that
WTP increases when consumers are presented
with information on reference prices for their
conventionally produced counterparts. They
also found that when consumers were given
information about organic products verbally,
as opposed to in a written leaflet format, WTP
increased. WTP a premium price for organic
products has been found to decrease with age
and increase with strongly held attitudes
towards the environment, food safety, and
the presence of younger children in the
household (Canavari et al., 2002; Soler et al.,
2002).
The high price premiums associated with
organically produced food result in ambiguous
consumer signals. While consumers indicate
the high price of organic food to be prohibitive
in their purchasing behaviors, they use price to
form opinions about the quality and taste of
organic food items. Hill and Lynchehaun
(2002) suggest that the mixed opinions they
found about whether organic milk tasted
different from conventionally produced milk
was based on consumers’ perceptions that
high price meant better quality, which cued
them to believe this should lead to a difference
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
10 Rene
´
e Shaw Hughner et al.
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
in taste. While WTP research has mainly
focused on consumers’ WTP higher retail
prices, Canavari et al. (2002) found that 30
per cent of consumers surveyed in a conven-
tional Italian supermarket favored paying price
premiums directly to farmers.
Theme 11: Lack of availability
The lack of availability and/or inconvenience
associated with purchasing organic food pre-
sents a further obstacle to its purchase (Zanoli
and Naspetti, 2002).
Theme 12: Skepticism of certification
boards and organic labels
Another setback in the purchase of organic
food is the level of consumer skepticism
surrounding organic food labels. Some Euro-
pean studies have found that consumers tend
to distrust certification bodies, leading them to
question the genuineness of organic products
(Ott, 1990; Canavari et al., 2002; Aarset et al.,
2004).
Theme 13: Insufficient marketing
Several studies seem to indicate that organic
food has been insufficiently promoted and
merchandized. Consumers’ lack of organic
food knowledge, the dearth of organic food
promotion, and ineffective retailing strategies
(merchandising and displays) have negatively
influenced consumers (Roddy et al. 1996;
Chryssochoidis 2000). Interestingly, Hill and
Lynchehaun (2002) found that location of
organic milk was very important to both
regular and infrequent organic food purcha-
sers. ‘‘All of the consumers agreed that they
would prefer organic milk to be positioned
beside standard organic milk – reasons include
for making price comparisons, habitual shop-
ping behavior’’ (p.537). Respondents also
stated that they found organic milk packaging
to be subdued and liked the more ‘‘bright,
modern, and colorful’’ packaging (p.537).
Finally, the finding that some consumers fail
to perceive any benefits or value to purchasing
organic food may point to the paucity and/or
ineffectiveness of organic food promotion
(Latacz-Lohmann and Foster, 1997).
Theme 14: Satisfaction with current
food source
Roddy et al. (1994) found consumer satisfac-
tion with conventional food to be a key reason
for not purchasing organic food. Further,
Magnusson et al. (2001) found that Swedish
consumers’ most important purchase criterion
for food was ‘taste’ and that ‘organic’ was the
least important criterion. Byrne et al. (1992)
also found that organic criteria and criteria
related to food safety, were not among the top
factors influencing consumers’ food purchas-
ing decisions.
Theme 15: Cosmetic defects
Some researchers have found that consumers
are unwilling to accept the blemishes or
imperfections often present in organic pro-
duce. Such cosmetic defects tend to deter
consumers from purchasing organic produce
(Ott, 1990; Thompson and Kidwell, 1998).
Discussion
The preceding literature review sheds light on
several key issues and elucidates our current
state of knowledge pertaining to consumer
attitudes and buying behavior towards organic
food. In addition, it points to gaps in our
understanding. In the following section, a
discussion of the key issues that arise from the
themes identified is presented.
Future research needs
The OCOFoccasional consumer
of organic food
Much research has examined the demographic
characteristics of organic food purchasers; far
fewer studies have investigated the psycho-
graphic characteristics of these consumers.
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
Who are organic food consumers? 11
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
Demographically, there have been mixed
findings. In addition, consumers vary in the
emphases they place on attributes of organic
food, production methods, and in their view
on market factors, such as price premiums. A
more psychographic approach focusing on
values, attitudes, and lifestyles could reveal
profiles of organic food consumers that are
able to be more widely generalized.
A few studies have attempted to develop
profiles and descriptions of the regular
consumer of organic food; those ‘hard core’
consumers who shop mainly from local food
co-operatives and account for a relatively small
percentage of organic food purchases. Yet,
many organic products have become common-
place in conventional supermarkets. Little
knowledge exists pertaining to the motivations
and characteristics of the occasional organic
food consumerthose consumers who pur-
chase select categories of organic foods (such
as milk) or occasionally purchase organic
products from large grocery chain retailers.
That there is no single description of an
organic food consumer and his/her motiv-
ations could be a partial explanation for why
consumers express everything from confusion
about organic food to frustration about
product availability. With the provision of a
greater understanding of both current and
incipient purchasers and their motivations, the
industry could begin to address consumer
needs more effectively and one could theorize
more meaningfully about how people use
organic food in their daily lives.
The distinction between consumers
and purchasers
Of the many studies selected for review, not
one differentiated between purchasers and
consumers of organic products. Consumers
living in households with young children have
a higher likelihood of purchasing organic
products. Is the organic food purchased only
for their children or is it bought for the entire
family’s consumption? Are there identifiable
patterns that reflect the adoption process of
organic food by various households members?
Certainly, these answers are of importance to
marketers.
Information sources
Very little research has examined the sources
of information that inform consumers’ organic
food knowledge. The current environment
presents the potential to inform consumers in a
variety of waysinternet, print advertising,
television, word-of-mouth, retail outlets, etc.
Are there differences or similarities among
regular, occasional, and infrequent organic
food purchasers in the information sources
they seek and/or consider credible?
Methodological perspectives
Survey methods characterize most of the
studies reviewed here. While such methods
facilitate the collection of data from larger
sample sizes and enable greater predictive
capability, they are not sufficient in under-
standing the complexity inherent in consu-
mers’ organic food beliefs and consumption
behaviors. Traditional survey questionnaires
are too simplistic to fully understand the
connections between value systems and
action. More psychographic or holistic
research could reveal greater depth and
meaning and thereby better describe consu-
mer motivations. For example, ‘‘food safety’’
was a construct found to be a motivator in the
purchase of organic food. However, in most
cases, we were unclear as to the meaning
consumers attributed to this term. Do con-
sumers believe organic food to be safer due to
the absence of chemicals, the perception that
organic food it is not mass-produced, or the
actual security measures governing the grow-
ing of the crops? Without careful consideration
of how the term is understood, it is impossible
for researchers to understand the underlying
motives driving the decision making process.
Future research needs to incorporate more
interpretative types of research methods in
order to provide richer insight into consumer
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
12 Rene
´
e Shaw Hughner et al.
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
motivations and interpretations of the organic
food purchase and consumption experiences.
At the beginning of this paper we quote
Schifferstein and Ophuis (1998) who talk
about buying organic food as being ‘‘a way
of life’’ for RCOFs. However, we have no real
sense of what this way of life actually involves.
Thus, interpretative research which considers
the lived experience of organic consumers is
needed to further our knowledge and under-
standing of organic food consumption and the
organic food consumer.
Move to the mainstreamthe business
of organic food
For years, organics were the exclusive pro-
vince of small independent farmers. In the last
decade, however, many large food companies
have entered the organic marketplace. Some
have overtly created their own brands of
organic foods (e.g., Frito-Lay’s Naturals pro-
duct line; Tesco’s organic range in the UK and
Ireland), while others have been considerably
more discreet (e.g., Odwalla, makers of organic
orange juice, is owned by Minute Maid, a
division of Coca Cola). The entrance of mass
organic-food producers and retailers carries
with it an inherent tension between the
principles of sustainable farming and the
imperatives of big business. Noteworthy, is
the paucity of research that has dealt with the
above described move to the mainstream.
From farming to retailing practices, organic
food production, and marketing processes are
rapidly changing. It is logical to believe that for
some consumers this information would
influence their attitudes and subsequent
behavior toward organic food. The question
is how, and to what extent.
Solving the paradoxes
Two paradoxes become apparent: the health
paradox and the price paradox. Consumers
buy organic food primarily due to its perceived
health benefits. This is interesting, as there has
been no evidence that organic food is actually
healthier (Williams, 2002). Does the growth of
the organic food market hinge upon health
claims? Will there be repercussions should it
be proven that there is no health advantage to
organic food?
Additionally, to many consumers the high
prices characteristic of organic food constitute
a deterrent to its purchase; they do not believe
the value of organic food to be worth the high
premiums often times charged. Yet, research
has noted that when organic food is priced
lower, consumers tend to infer the low-
er-priced organic food is of lower quality and
has fewer benefits. If quality translates to
‘health’, then the lowering of prices reduces
organic food’s differentiating feature – per-
ceived healthfulness. Striking the balance
between these two forces is an important
challenge for the industry.
Implications
The themes identified in this review suggest
that the stakeholders of organic foods have
much to do if the industry is to grow and to
serve the varied consumer interests. Even the
basic understanding of what ‘organic’ means is
not universal. If consumers cannot distinguish
organic from conventional food on reasonable
criteria, it is not surprising that they do not
purchase organics at greater rates. It is
incumbent on marketers, retailers, and produ-
cers to better convey relevant information to
consumers. Appropriate educational materials
that could broaden the organic food consumer
base need to be developed. Marketers need to
include information pertaining to production
methods, environmental benefits, positive
contributions to local economies, etc. By not
engaging in proactive, strategic marketing, the
industry has left consumers to figure it out on
their own.
The themes also revealed that some con-
sumers are concerned about food safety, have a
tendency to distrust government agencies, and
yet are not fully educated about organic food.
As a result, it is imperative that growers
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
Who are organic food consumers? 13
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
recognize their own stake in the image of
organic food as the image is generated by
others in the value chain. As large corporations
extend their own offerings to include organic
lines – along with conventional foods – even
educated consumers may begin to doubt the
authenticity of the ‘organic’ label. Growers
must remain active participants in the value
chain through which their products move in
order to protect the investment they have
made.
Concluding thoughts
Our study shows the need for further research
to better understand the organic consumer,
whilst also recognizing that current consu-
mers, both regular and occasional, are con-
fused on many fronts. As the global production
of organic food is expected to grow substan-
tially, what appears clear from our research is
that marketing academics have an important
role to play in generating further insights into
understanding the organic consumer and the
marketing system in which they must make
purchase decisions and consume organic
products. This information may then be
utilized to aid consumers, the food industry
(growers and retailers alike), policy makers,
and special interest groups. Such research also
will be useful in helping consumers, retailers,
and producers better understand what organic
means in the public sphere and the impact of
media in its representation. Research can also
inform the industry and policy makers on what
marketing strategies will be useful in educating
and informing the public on the one hand;
whilst also providing tactical advice on packa-
ging, communications, pricing strategies, and
so forth. To this end, marketers might help
produce a ‘convergence of interests’ strategy
for all interested parties in the production and
consumption of organic food, as well as advise
on policy which elucidates rather than obfus-
cates the organic question.
A recent special issue on ‘‘the representa-
tion of food in everyday life’’ (McDonagh and
Prothero, 2005) recognized that the study of
food in the 21st century ‘‘is filled with
paradoxes, confusion, and dilemmas’’. At the
same time a recent review of 20 years of
consumer research (Arnold and Thompson,
2005) found that studies which have led to ‘‘a
distinctive body of theoretical knowledge
about consumption and marketplace beha-
viors’’ have been largely sociocultural, experi-
ential, symbolic, or ideological in nature. Thus,
it seems consumer research into organic food
consumption, by focusing primarily on demo-
graphic issues, is in its infancy theoretically.
Future research in the area is now needed to
move beyond what we have seen over the past
20 years and embrace some of the themes
being identified in the consumer research field
generally, and the food consumption field,
specifically. Consequently, consumer resear-
chers, producers, retailers, and policy makers
will then benefit from a richer understanding
of the organic food consumer, than that which
has been offered to date. Thus, the next
research question for researchers in this field,
we would argue, should ask, not who is the
organic food consumer; but moreover how do
organic food consumers use the products in
their everyday lives? What are her/his lived
experiences and how can our understanding of
these experiences aid consumption knowl-
edge to facilitate a richer understanding of
consumption and marketplace behavior?
Biographical notes
Rene
´e Shaw Hughner, PhD, is an Assistant Pro-
fessor of marketing at Arizona State University.
In addition to the organic food industry, her
research focuses on policy issues related to the
marketing of children’s food products. She has
also published research on the understanding
of lay health behaviors. She received her doc-
torate at the Arizona State University and
taught in the Food Marketing Department at
St. Joseph’s University before joining the Mor-
rison School of Agribusiness at Arizona State
University.
Pierre McDonagh (PhD Cardiff University, Wales)
is Lecturer in Marketing at Dublin City Univer-
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
14 Rene
´
e Shaw Hughner et al.
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
sity Business School. He has published exten-
sively on social issues in marketing, including
editing Green Management: A Reader (ITBP,
1997), a special issue of the European Journal
of Marketing on Societal Marketing (2002) and
a special issue of Consumption Markets &
Culture on Food, Markets & Culture (2004).
Current projects include guest editing the
Journal of Strategic Marketing’s Special Issue
on Fair Trade and he is joint Global Policy and
Environment Editor for the Journal of Macro-
marketing (with Andy Prothero and Bill Kil-
bourne) and European Editor of the Academy
of Marketing Science Review.
Andrea Prothero is Senior Lecturer in Marketing
at University College Dublin. Andy graduated
with a BSc in Business Administration and a
PhD from the University of Cardiff. She joined
the marketing department of UCD in 1999. Her
research activity falls into the key area of
macromarketing; where the main focus is an
assessment of the impact of marketing activi-
ties upon society. The key research areas she is
currently associated with are Sustainable Con-
sumption, Organic Food Consumption,
Families & Consumption and Advertising to
Children. She has published widely in these
areas, has secured a number of research grants,
and sits on several editorial review boards.
Clifford J. Shultz, II, holds a PhD from Columbia
University, and is Professor and Marley Founda-
tion Chair at Arizona State University. His
primary research focus is marketing and devel-
opment in recovering economies, for example,
the Balkans and Southeast Asia. He has over
100 publications in diverse academic outlets
and currently serves as Editor of the Journal
of Macromarketing. He has won several
awards for his scholarship, including Fulbright
grants (Vietnam; Croatia), and currently man-
ages funded projects in various recovering
economies.
Julie Stanton (PhD, University of Maryland) is an
assistant professor of marketing at Saint
Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and was
previously on the faculty at the Morrison
School of Agribusiness at Arizona State Univer-
sity. Her research has focused on improving
market opportunities for smaller farmers,
particularly in developing countries. In
addition to analysis of the organic food indus-
try, her current research includes mapping of
U.S.–Mexican food distribution channels, and
evaluating prospects for alternative crops and
functional foods. She also spent 10 years with
the World Bank.
References
Aarset B, Beckmann S, Bigne E, Beveridge M, Bjorn-
dal T, Bunting J, McDonagh P, Mariojouls C, Muir
J, Prothero A, Reisch L, Smith A, Tveteras R,
Young J. 2004. The European consumers’ under-
standing and perceptions of the ‘‘organic’’ food
regime: the case of aquaculture. British Food
Journal 106(2): 93–105.
Arnold EJ, Thompson CJ. 2005. Consumer culture
theory (CCT): twenty years of research. Journal
of Consumer Research 31(3): 868–882.
Byrne PJ, Toensmeyer UC, German CL, Muller HR.
1992. Evaluation of consumer attitudes towards
organic produce in Delaware and the Delmarva
region. Journal of Food Distribution Research
23(1): 29–44.
Canavari M, Bazzani GM, Spadoni R, Regazzi D.
2002. Food safety and organic fruit demand in
Italy: a survey. British Food Journal 104(3/4/5):
220–232.
Chinnici G, D’Amico M, Pecorino B. 2002.
A multivariate statistical analysis on the consu-
mers of organic products. British Food Journal
104(3/4/5). 187–199.
Chryssochoidis G. 2000. Repercussions of consu-
mer confusion for late introduced differentiated
products. European Journal of Marketing 34(5/
6): 705–722.
Cicia G, Del Giudice T, Scarpa R. 2002. Consumers’
perception of quality in organic food: a random
utility model under preference heterogeneity
and choice correlation from rank-orderings. Brit-
ish Food Journal 104(3/4/5): 200–213.
Davies A, Titterington A, Cochrane C. 1995. Who
buys organic food? A profile of the purchasers of
organic food in Northern Ireland. British Food
Journal 97(10): 17–23.
Fillion L, Arazi S. 2002. Does organic food taste
better? A claim substantiation approach. Nutri-
tion and Food Science 32(2): 153–157.
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
Who are organic food consumers? 15
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
Fitzpatrick M. 2002. Food scares drive organic sales
in Japan. Food Traceability Report 2(3): 11.
Food Marketing Institute. 2001. Organic shoppers
may not be who you think they are. Washing-
ton, DC: The Food Marketing Institute Report.
Latacz-Lohmann U, Foster C. 1997. From ‘‘niche’’ to
‘‘mainstream’’strategies for marketing organic
food in Germany and the UK. British Food Jour-
nal 99(8): 275–283.
Fotopoulos C, Krystallis A. 2002. Organic product
avoidance: reasons for rejection and potential
buyers’ identification in a countrywide survey.
British Food Journal 104(3/4/5): 233–260.
Fotopoulos C, Krystallis A, Ness M. 2003. Wine
produced by organic grapes in Greece: using
means-end chains analysis to reveal organic
buyers’ purchasing motives in comparison to
the non-buyers. Food Quality and Preference
14(7): 549–566.
Goldman BJ, Clancy KL. 1991. A survey of organic
produce purchases and related attitudes of food
cooperative shoppers. American Journal of
Alternative Agriculture 6(2): 89–95.
Grunert SC, Juhl HJ. 1995. Values, environmental
attitudes, and buying of organic foods. Journal of
Economic Psychology 16(1): 39–62.
Hammit JK. 1990. Risk perception and food choice:
an exploratory analysis of organic versus conven-
tional produce buyers. Risk Analysis 10(3):
367–374.
Harper GC, Makatouni A. 2002. Consumer percep-
tion of organic food production and farm animal
welfare. British Food Journal 104(3/4/5):
287–299.
Hart C. 1998. Doing a literature review: releasing
the social science research imagination, Sage
Publications: London.
Hill H, Lynchehaun F. 2002. Organic milk: attitudes
and consumption patterns. British Food Journal
104(7): 526–542.
Huang CL. 1996. Consumer preferences and atti-
tudes towards organically grown produce. Euro-
pean Review of Agricultural Economics
23(3–4): 331–342.
Hutchins RK, Greenhalgh LA. 1995. November/
December Organic confusion: sustaining com-
petitive advantage. Nutrition & Food Science
6: 11–14.
Jolly DA. 1991. Determinants of organic horticul-
tural products consumption based on a sample of
California consumers. Acta Horticulture 295:
41–148.
Kouba M. 2003. March. Quality of organic animal
products. Livestock Production Science 80(1–2):
33–40.
Lacy R. 1992. Scares and the British Food System.
British Food Journal 94(7): 26–30.
Loureiro ML, McCluskey JL, Mittelhammer RC.
2001. Assessing consumer preferences for
organic, eco-labeled, and regular apples. Journal
of Agricultural and Resource Economics 26(2):
404–416.
Magnusson MK, Arvola A, Hursti U, Aberg L, Sjoden
P. 2001. Attitudes towards organic foods among
Swedish consumers. British Food Journal
103(3): 209–227.
Magnusson MK, Arvola A, Hursti U, Aberg L, Sjoden
P. 2003. Choice of organic food is related to
perceived consequences for human health and
to environmentally friendly behaviour. Appetite
40(2): 109–117.
Makatouni A. 2002. What motivates consumers to
buy organic food in the UK? Results from a
qualitative study. British Food Journal 104(3/
4/5): 345–352.
McDonagh P, Prothero A. 2005. Food, markets and
culture: the representation of food in everyday
life. Consumption, Markets, and Culture 8(1):
1–5.
McDonald D. 2000. Organic products defined.
Farm Industry News, April.
Miller C. 1996. Challenge to fat-free: sales of organic
food nearly double in five years. Marketing News
30(22): 1–3.
Millock
Q7
2002. Willingness to pay for organic
foods: a comparison between survey data and
panel data from Denmark’’, Second World Con-
gress of Environmental and Resource Econom-
ists, Monterey, USA, June.
Mitsostergios T, Skiadas CH. 1994. Attitudes and
perceptions of fresh pasteurized milk consu-
mers: a qualitative and quantitative survey. Brit-
ish Food Journal 96(7): 4–10.
Murphy C. 1999. April Organic sector moves into
the mainstream. Marketing 29: 14–15.
O’Donovan P, McCarthy M. 2002. Irish consumer
preference for organic meat. British Food Jour-
nal 104(3/4/5): 353–370.
Organic Consumers Association. 2001. Since 9/11
Americans’ food safety concerns and organic
Q7
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
16 Rene
´
e Shaw Hughner et al.
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
food buying have increased. November 27, 2001,
Available at: http://www.organicconsumers.org/
Organic/foodsafety112801.cfm.
Ott SL. 1990. Supermarkets shoppers’ pesticide
concerns and willingness to purchase certified
pesticide residue-free fresh produce. Agribusi-
ness 6(6): 593–602.
Palmer A. 2001. Organic food. Economic Review
19(1): 2–11.
Roddy G, Cowan C, Hutchinson G. 1994. Organic
food: a description of the Irish market. British
Food Journal 96(4): 3–10.
Roddy G, Cowan C, Hutchinson G. 1996. Irish
Market. British Food Journal 96(4): 3–10.
Schifferstein HNJ, Oude Ophuis PAM. 1998. Health-
related determinants of organic food consump-
tion in the Netherlands. Food Quality and Pre-
ference 9(3): 119–133.
Soil Association. 2003. The Organic Food and Farm-
ing Report 2003. Soil Association, UK.
Soler F, Gil JM, Sa
´nchez M. 2002. Consumers’
acceptability of organic food in Spain: results
from an experimental auction market. British
Food Journal 104(8). 670–687.
Squires L, Juric B, Bettina Cornwell T. 2001. Level of
market development and intensity of organic
food consumption: cross-cultural study of Danish
and New Zealand consumers. Journal of Con-
sumer Marketing 18(5): 392–409.
Thompson GD, Kidwell J. 1998. May. Explaining
the choice of organic produce: cosmetic defects
prices, and consumer preferences. American
Journal of Agricultural Economics 80(2):
277–287.
Torjusen H, Lieblein G, Wandel M, Francis CA.
2001. Food system orientation and quality per-
ception among consumers an producers of
organic food in Hedmark County, Norway. Food
Quality and Preference 12: 207–216.
Tregear A, Dent JB, McGregor MJ. 1994. The
demand for organically grown produce. British
Food Journal 96(4): 21–25.
Wandel M, Bugge A. 1997. Environmental concern
in consumer evaluation of food quality. Food
Quality and Preference 8(1): 19–26.
Wilkins JL, Hillers VN. 1994. Influences of pesticide
residue and environmental concerns on organic
food preference among food cooperative
members and non-members in Washington
state. Journal of Nutrition Education 26(1):
26–33.
Williams CM. 2002. February. Nutritional quality of
organic food: shades of grey or shades of
green? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
61(1): 19.
Zanoli R, Naspetti S. 2002. Consumer Motivations
in the Purchase of Organic Food. British Food
Journal 104(8): 643–653.
Copyright #2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Month 2007
DOI: 10.1002/cb
Who are organic food consumers? 17
UNCORRECTED PROOFS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
Author Query Form (CB/210)
Special Instructions: Author please write responses to queries directly on Galley proofs
and then fax back.
Q1: Author: Please check the affiliation of all the authors.
Q2: Author: Please provide the reference in the reference list.
Q3: Author: Please provide the reference in the reference list.
Q4: Author: Please provide the reference in the reference list.
Q5: Author: Please provide the reference in the reference list.
Q6: Author: Please provide the reference in the reference list.
Q7: Author: Please provide the first name of the author.
... Scientists and breeders have also developed modern tomato varieties (mostly hybrids) with all shapes, colours and sizes through research, domestication and breeding activities. The genetic variation present in the wild species has been investigated intensively for specific traits and it is been exploited in tomato breeding [55,56,57,58]. Instead of exporting these genetic materials, there is the need to uphold these qualities in the wild varieties by improving them in quality and quantity. ...
... was obtained from the Control plants. (Table 6) Treatments Steroid Content mg/g T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9 T10 1.10 ± 0.004 j 2.16 ± 0.005 d 2. 58 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9 T10 0.22 ± 0.003 i 0.40 ± 0.003 h 0.79 ± 0.001 e 0.86 ± 0.002 c 1.58 ± 0.004 a 0.76 ± 0.002 f 1.44 ± 0.001 b 0.71 ± 0.002 g 0.79 ± 0.000 e 0.82 ± 0.002 d Table 6: Flavonoid composition of the tomato shoot as influenced by treatments (mg/g) ...
... Flavonoids are found in fruits, herbs, stems, cereals, nuts, vegetables, flowers and seeds [30,34,46]. Flavonoids have been used in natural dyes [45,49], in cosmetics and skin care products [56,58,59] and antiwrinkle skin agents. Flavonoids are used extensively as anticancer [60], anti-microbial, antiviral, anti angiogenic [61]. ...
Article
Full-text available
A study on the phytochemical content of tomato (var dwarf gem) variety as influenced by nutritional treatments was carried out at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka. Randomisd Complete Block Design was used for the study. Twenty bucketswere filled with 30kg of sandy loamy soil. Goat pellets was used as the organic manure while for the inorganic manure, fertilizer (NPK 15:15:15) was used to treat the soil. There were ten treatments including the Control. The results on the various treatments revealed that for the Saponin content, the highest value of 1.50±0.002, was from the plant treated with organic fertilizer in combination with Phosphorus, Nacl and bicarbonate. Tannin had the highest value of 1.68±0.003 from the plant treated with inorganic fertilizer in combination with Nacl and Bicarbonate. Alkaloid and Flavonoid had their highest values of 4.02±0.010 and 2.61±0.001respectively from the plants fed with organic and inorganic fertilizers. Phenol recorded its highest value of 1.58±0.004 and for Steroid, 2.58±0.004. The lowest shoot phytochemicals was obtained from the Control. There were significant differences among the various treatments, P=0.05. The results from the root phytochemicals revealed that the highest values for Saponin, Steroid and Phenol were from the roots of the plants treated with Oraganic and inorganic fertilizers combined. Tannin was from the plant supplied with organic and inorganic in combination with Nacl and bicarbonate while for the Steroid, was from the plant treated with organic fertilizer only. In all the root experinments, there were significant differences among the various treatments. The lowest was from the Control
... For instance, Hughner et al. (2007) stated that people buy alternatives to traditional meat to safeguard animal welfare. Boobalan et al. (2021) affirm that people use plant-based food to obtain psychological and expressive benefits (showing an environmental identity of self to others, behaving in a socially recognised manner); Coherently, Tobias-Mamina and Maziriri (2021) found that vegan food is perceived as high quality, fresher, tastier and more nutritious than conventionally manufactured food products. ...
... Several studies have confirmed that health and nutrition concerns are the primary factors influencing the purchase of synthetic foods (Honkanen et al., 2006;Magnusson et al., 2003), as well as environmental concerns, animal welfare and support for the local economy (Hughner et al., 2007). In particular, LGM is considered positively with respect to animals: This is not surprising since LGM advertising has been proposed to be free of animal suffering and death (Bhat et al., 2019). ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate consumers' reactions to a new kind of green food product that is the so-called lab-grown meat (LGM). This kind of meat does not derive from animal or vegetal cultures but is produced on the basis of “tissue-engineering” technologies, by injecting muscle tissue from an animal into a cell culture, allowing cells to “grow” outside the animal's body. By considering the similar nutritional characteristics of traditional types of meat, and the potential in terms of sustainability, the authors investigate the effect of the advertising, communication focus promoting LGM-based meat, on consumers' willingness to buy (WTB) and word-of-mouth (WOM), by shedding light on the moderator role of consumers' environmentalism and status consumption orientation tendency in influencing such relationship. Design/methodology/approach Through an exploratory research design, the authors conducted a study based on a two-cell experiment that manipulated the advertising communication focus by using a hamburger made of synthetic meat related to a fictitious brand called “Gnam”, to manipulate the advertising communication focus (sustainability vs. taste), then evaluating consumers' WTB, WOM, environmentalism and status consumption orientation. Findings Results show that the communication focus (sustainability vs. taste) exerts a positive effect on consumers' WTB and WOM, and how such effect is magnified both by consumers' environmentalism and status consumption orientation, in the attempt to show other a green status and their green consumption tendency. Research limitations/implications Despite the promising results, the study does not consider other consumers' individual differences, i.e. as for the role of age, or cultural differences. Practical implications Practically, this study suggests marketers and managers how to design effective marketing campaigns to incentivise LGM-based food products purchase, and promote positive WOM, on the basis of certain consumers' individual differences useful to segment their clientele in terms of environmentalism, and status consumption orientation tendency. Social implications Socially, this study may contribute to incentivising the use of alternative forms of meat as a food product not deriving from animal or vegetal culture, coherently with recent sustainability worldwide claimed goals. Originality/value This is the first paper to investigate consumers' reactions to LGM-based food products, by shedding light on the fundamental role of consumers' individual differences.
... There is a finding showing that the way someone's attitude impacts the green purchase behavior does not influence significantly toward a decision to purchase (Tanner & WölfingKast, 2003). Someone's attitude has a positive impact toward the behavior of purchasing organic food for 67 percent; however, there are only 4 percent of them who really buy that product (Hughner et al., 2007). This means that, even though there is an environmental problem, the society's attitude positively supports the effort of sustaining the natural environment, green products, and the green product market share which is limited for only 1-3 percent out of the whole products (Bray et al., 2011). ...
Article
The study aimed to perform a further analysis of the society’s awareness towards the natural environment, especially the awareness of having a healthy life, which leads them to have an awareness to use a natural-based product (environmentally friendly product). Furthermore, this awareness acts as a guidance for them to become consumers who care about their environment and also the material logistics management of each company to build a good customer relationship management with their customer. Along with this phenomenon, however, several reasons regarding the increase of environmentally friendly product consumption are unknown. This study focused on antecedents generating green purchase behavior, namely, social influence, green attitude, green value, and green trust. The approach applied in the study was a purposive sampling method with the 450 respondents in all over Bali. The finding showed that the social influence did not significantly impact the green purchase behavior. On the other hand, green attitude, green value, and green trust brought a positive and significant impact toward green purchase behavior. Social influence, green attitude, and green value influenced positively and significantly toward green trust. Green trust played a role as the relationship mediator of social influence, green attitude, and green value on green purchase behavior. The study was limited as it belonged to cross-sectional and longitudinal study, and it needed a lengthy period to validate the finding. It only accommodated the consumer’s green purchase behavior in Bali. Hence, it cannot be generalized; however, it can be developed in another area. Moreover, the practical implication for the producers of the environmentally friendly product is that they can be more attentive to certain variables that generate the green purchase behavior. The authenticity of the study is that the social influence does not influence the green purchase behavior toward the society in Bali. Furthermore, this study supports the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) particularly in marketing the green product. The study is a more completed model development of the green purchase behavior. Furthermore, the variable in this study is worth considering in developing the environmentally friendly product.
Book
Full-text available
In the framework of sustainable production and safe food, this monograph that is the result of a multidisciplinary project involving researchers from different fields of knowledge (Anatomy, Functional Biology, Economics, Sociology and Agricultural Policy, Soil Science, Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition and Bromatology, Plant Production and Engineering Projects, Food Technology and Zoology). This monography evaluates from the production of Galician native wheat (cv. ‘Caaveiro’), comparing organic farming vs. conventional, to the flour obtained and the baking and control of the final products. In addition, it allows to deepen the knowledge associated with the effect of the farming system at different levels on a subject that is increasingly in demand, such as proximity and ecological products. Based on the results obtained, organic production can be encouraged, since by cultivating cereals in a more sustainable way, it is possible to optimize all the variables that should concern society such as the nutrition, the health, the environment, the economy and the consumption.
Article
Full-text available
In India, the market of organic products is growing, as the number of people willing to consume organic food and their attitude towards organic food products have changed to a greater extent. In short, consumer attitude and knowledge have become significant factors in changing of preference and buying behaviour towards organic foods, which is expected to drive the growth in the organic food markets further. Moreover, the increase of the environmental consciousness has a thoughtful effect on consumer behaviour, which has supported in expansion of organic market in India at a remarkable phase.The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has changed the mindset of many consumers. They are increasingly aware of the risks of not caring for the planet. Before the pandemic, there was a perceived increase in collective environmental concern and sustainability, but COVID-19 has further accelerated this process and motivated more people to assume this responsibility. Thus, the health crisis could trigger the consumption of organic foods, which are foods produced through environmentally friendly agricultural methods and that have not been artificially altered.To study the factors that influence consumer behavior and willingness towards purchase of organic food products in Coimbatore city were analysed through various factors through factor analysis.
Article
With the support of Meditech and the internet business, the web-based pharmaceutical area has risen impressively over the earlier 10 years. This study utilized a poll overview to explore the variables that impact native people groups' eagerness to purchase prescriptions online in Bhubaneswar city. Arranged activity directed the advancement of examination systems and speculations. Attitudes, subjective norms, and affordability (behavior control) were examined utilizing underlying condition models to influence online medication willingness to pay (WTP). WTP was then used to conjecture genuine purchasing conduct. Mentalities and emotional standards impacted WTP, though moderation made no difference. Mentalities also affect abstract principles and reasonableness, suggesting that drives to increment utilization of consumption should focus on changing customer perspectives.
Article
Full-text available
In India, the market of organic products is growing, as the number of people willing to consume organic food and their attitude towards organic food products have changed to a greater extent. In short, consumer attitude and knowledge have become significant factors in changing of preference and buying behaviour towards organic foods, which is expected to drive the growth in the organic food markets further. Moreover, the increase of the environmental consciousness has a thoughtful effect on consumer behaviour, which has supported in expansion of organic market in India at a remarkable phase.The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has changed the mindset of many consumers. They are increasingly aware of the risks of not caring for the planet. Before the pandemic, there was a perceived increase in collective environmental concern and sustainability, but COVID-19 has further accelerated this process and motivated more people to assume this responsibility. Thus, the health crisis could trigger the consumption of organic foods, which are foods produced through environmentally friendly agricultural methods and that have not been artificially altered.To study the factors that influence consumer behavior and willingness towards purchase of organic food products in Coimbatore city were analysed through various factors through factor analysis.
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of agricultural practices has declined in recent years, resulting in consumers becoming uncertain of where and how their food has been produced and the marketing tactics used to promote the product. Historically, the U.S. population’s rich agricultural heritage coincided with higher levels of agricultural literacy. Some scholars, however, have maintained that U.S. culture has begun to lose touch with its agricultural foundations. More recent evidence has demonstrated that consumers acquire knowledge about their food from various media, most notably the Internet and social media. Often these sources use incorrect information and promote food and agricultural marketing trends that may not be grounded in scientific data. In response, this historical narrative analyzed a reform effort that occurred in U.S. food labeling policy and practice in the 1900s, which contributed to food labeling issues and consumer distrust in the agricultural industry. Based on the findings of this investigation, we concluded that food labels were initially intended to provide consumers with more profound knowledge of the food they purchased. However, key legislative acts such as the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act and the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act shifted the food labeling movement into a branding device to differentiate products and brands. We recommend that agricultural practitioners explore new ways to communicate their message more effectively. We also call for producers to incorporate more personal and emotional appeals when marketing agricultural products to better compete with third-party branding efforts.
Article
Over 300 shoppers entering supermarkets completed a questionnaire about purchasing certified pesticide residue‐free (CPRF) fresh produce. One‐half expressed concern about pesticide use on fresh produce. Two‐thirds were willing to pay 5 to 10% higher prices to obtain CPRF fresh produce, but were unwilling to accept any cosmetic defects or insect damage. For assuring no pesticide residues, shoppers preferred certification by independent testing laboratories as opposed to promises by growers that no pesticides were used in production. A target market of white, collegeeducated, middle to higher income shoppers was identified for CPRF fresh produce.
Article
Although consumers express concerns about the health effects of pesticide residues, consumption of organic food is minimal. A survey was conducted to investigate the role of concerns about the health and environmental effects of pesticides on consumer preference for organically produced food, and the implications for nutrition educators and the organic food market. Members of a food cooperative that stocks organic foods and residents from the same geographical region were randomly selected to receive a mail questionnaire. Compared to the general population, members of the food cooperative had stronger attitudes and concerns about food and environmental issues, and a higher preference for and more frequent consumption of organic food. Pesticide residue concern was highly correlated with the food-related environmental concern variables and was a significant explanatory variable for organic food preference in both groups. However, environmental concerns were not significant explanatory variables for either group. In both study groups, a positive attitude toward cooking and shopping was correlated with food-related environmental concerns and was a significant explanatory variable for organic food preference. The results support the hypothesis that concern about pesticide residues is a significant factor in preference for organic food. However, the connections between food choices and environmental effects are unclear to many consumers.
Article
We present a project aiming at estimating the willingness to pay for organic foods through panel data and a survey. The panel data is based on weekly reporting of household purchases by 2000 Danish households with information on their demographic and socio-economic characteristics. Detailed information on organic foods exist from 1997. A questionnaire asking consumers to distinguish and rank various food attributes will be sent out to all households in the sample in June 2002. For survey purposes, organic foods are defined as products carrying the Danish state label guaranteeing public control and certification of organic production. The food product attributes include environmental concerns, animal welfare, and food safety (health concerns). Here we present the results from the pilot study sent out in 2001 to 400 randomly chosen households, representatively distributed on geographical regions however. Among the results we note that the order of valued attributes do not differ across organic product types and that avoidance of chemicals is the highest valued attribute. We also present some preliminary estimations on purchase data in order to compare the contingent valuation results with observed willingness to pay. Both valuation methods entail uncertainty, and a comparison may indicate the magnitude of this.
Article
Examines marketing orientation in the organic produce sector. Presents results of a consumer survey which indicate that consumers are confused about the meaning of the term “organic” and that the current mechanisms for labelling organic produce are ineffective. Proposes that producers of organic foods should consider consumer research and strategic marketing planning as mechanisms for sustaining a market which has greater potential than is currently realized. Contends that for this endeavour to be successful, senior management figures in the industry must take the lead and initiate this proposed change in strategy.
Article
Organic production and its consumption have grown tremendously in recent years. However, in the case of Spain demand still represents only 1 per cent of food expenditure. The main obstacle seems to be that organic food faces problems related to consumers’ acceptability; lack of food availability and seasonality make it difficult to establish appropriate retailing outlets; also, higher costs of production and retailer margins jointly may result in higher prices than consumers are willing to pay for organic food attributes. Research studies have mostly elicited consumers’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) for organic food through contingent valuation. Alternatively, explores, using an experimental second-price sealed-bid auction, the value that consumers place on organic food and the effect that information included on ecolabel and physical appearance have on their WTP. This methodological approach involves the use of real money and real products, which, in fact, may overcome the hypothetical bias detected in previous studies. Also discusses the effect on WTP of consumers’ demographic characteristics and lifestyles, as well as attitudes towards food safety and buying behaviour. Results show, that as more accurate information is offered, consumers’ acceptability of labelled organic food products increases; and that WTP is highly correlated with consumption habits variables.
Article
Three food groups, which are central in the Norwegian diet, were chosen for investigation of consumer valuation of quality: fruits and vegetables, potatoes, and meat. Most consumers prioritize freshness, taste and nutritional value. Those consumers who gave priority to environmental aspects were least satisfied with the quality of these products. A further investigation of consumer relationship to environmental aspects of food was made through analyses of the characteristics of consumers who 1) put priority on environmental aspects in their quality valuation of food, 2) are willing to pay an extra price for foods produced in an environmentally sound manner, and 3) buy these products today.The results showed that women are more likely to prioritize environmental aspects in their quality evaluation of food, and they are more likely to buy these products, than men. People in the highest educational group were also more likely to put priority on environmentally sound production. There were geographical differences; people living in Oslo and Northern Norway were least likely to put priority on ecological production. There was no independent effect of income, occupation or age. However, the reasons for buying foods from environmentally sound production were different in the various age groups. The youngest age group based their buying behavior on the considerations for the environment and animal welfare, whereas consideration for own health was the most prominent reason in the oldest age group. The results indicate that many consumers are interested in foods produced in an ecologically sound manner, but they are not willing to pay the present high prices for these products.
Article
Food purchasing behaviour is influenced by economic factors such as price and income, as well as by non-economic factors such as concern about diet and health, growth of vegetarianism, convenience, household's life cycle and advertising. Reports on a survey in Chania, the second largest city of Crete, to determine the factors that affect the purchasing behaviour of fresh pasteurized milk and to identify the attitudes and perceptions of consumers towards it. Reveals that the concern about health of consumers, strong advertising campaigns, as well as the age and economic status of respondents, influence consumer choice towards fresh pasteurized milk. Finally, scrutinizes the attitude of the majority of consumers towards fresh pasteurized milk although concentrated milk (the basic competitor) still has the biggest market share in Chania.