Marketing communications create confusion: perception versus reality for Australian organic food consumers

Joanna Henryks, David Pearson

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution

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Abstract

The empirical research presented in this paper shows that existing marketing communications are leading to significant confusion for consumers of organic products. Organic products are now available in most supermarkets and, consequently, they provide consumers with an alternative to conventionally grown food. Further, the organic market continues to be one of the fastest growing product categories in Australia food industry. The discrepancy between consumer perception and reality was identified during a qualitative investigation into the reasons for some buyers purchasing organic food. This confusion was evident at a product level, such as assuming a particular brand of chicken was organic when in fact it was only free range, and at a retail outlet level, such as assuming that all products sold at a farmers’ market were organic when they were not. Interestingly some consumers expressed their confusion during discussions with the researcher, whilst for others the errors were identified by the researcher. A major contribution to this confusion is the fact that consumers are presented with numerous different certification labels. This includes those provide by the seven independent Australian based organisations. The recent changes in Australia with the release of a certification standard for domestically produced and consumed products have the potential to reduce this confusion, particularly if the changes are supported by a new label. However, the new label and standard will need to be supported by a sustained marketing communication campaign to create consumer awareness if this is to be achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedia, Democracy and Change: Refereed Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference 2010
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
PublisherAustralian and New Zealand Communication Association
Pages1-12
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781740883191
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventMedia Democracy and Change: Australian and New Zealand Communications Association (ANZCA) Annual Conference - Canberra, Australia
Duration: 7 Jul 20109 Jul 2010

Conference

ConferenceMedia Democracy and Change: Australian and New Zealand Communications Association (ANZCA) Annual Conference
CountryAustralia
CityCanberra
Period7/07/109/07/10

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Henryks, J., & Pearson, D. (2010). Marketing communications create confusion: perception versus reality for Australian organic food consumers. In Media, Democracy and Change: Refereed Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference 2010 (pp. 1-12). Canberra, Australia: Australian and New Zealand Communication Association.