Organic Food: What we know (and don't know) about consumers

David Pearson, Joanna Henryks, Hannah Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    93 Citations (Scopus)
    2 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    This paper reports on the latest contributions to over 20 years of research on organic food consumers. There is a general consensus in the literature on the reasons why people buy organic food. However, there is also a gap between consumers’ generally positive attitude toward organic food and their relatively low level of actual purchases. Product differentiation based on intangible features, such as credence attributes such as organic, in fast-moving consumer goods categories is enjoying rapid growth. However, there are many difficulties with research in this area, including the errors inherent in research that relies on consumer self-reporting methodologies. Further, in relation to organic food, there is a divergence between consumers’ perception of its superior health features and scientific evidence. Fresh fruits and vegetables are of vital importance to the organic sector as they are the entry point for many customers and account for one-third of sales. Further, although there is a small proportion of dedicated organic food buyers, most sales come from the majority of buyers who switch between conventional and organic food purchases. This paper identifies the practical implications for generic organic food marketing campaigns, as well as for increasing sales of specific products. It concludes with suggested priorities for further research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)171-177
    Number of pages7
    JournalRenewable Agriculture and Food Systems
    Volume26
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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