Organic Food Motivation Research Research Paper

Pages: 9 (2580 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 9  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Agriculture

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Respondents bought a variety of organic food, with the majority of respondents indicating they purchased predominantly vegetables, and a majority of respondents indicating that they purchased organic meat, poultry, or seafood. Approximately half of the respondents reported buying organic diary, while one person reported buying organic processed foods, such as cereal, and one person indicated buying organic herbs, spices, or oils. Slightly less than half of the survey respondents indicated that when given the choice between organic and non-organic food brands, they would always select organic foods, while the other half of the respondents indicated that they would frequently choose organic foods if given the choice. Since no respondents selected "sometimes," "never," and "no opinion" regarding the choice to buy organic or non-organic food, the respondents to this survey meet the research criterion for customers who regularly shop for organic food. Respondents identified a number of locations for their organic food shopping, with a majority of the respondents shopping at independent stores, while a lesser number of respondents reported shopping at farmers' markets or supermarkets.

Figure 1. Weekly expenditures for organic food

IV. Analysis

In both the survey and the structured questionnaire, respondents seemed to be relatively new to organic food with their responses falling in the categories of three years or less; this factor might be associated with age. Demographic information is not immediately available for the group of subjects who responded to the structured interview, however, the median age of the subjects who responded to the survey is just under 30 years of age.

Figure 2. Perception of organic food compared to conventional food

We know from the survey data approximately how much the respondents were spending on organic food each week, and we know that the respondents, by and large, consider organic food to be a good value. As shown in Figure 2, the respondents in this study were clear about the reasons that they buy organic food, including concerns for their own health and for the well-being of the planet. Respondents appear to have a strong desire to avoid foods with pesticides and hormones. The respondents purchase a wide range of organic foods, and many of the respondents report buying organic foods from several food groups or categories when they shop. It should be noted that the food categories were not exclusive in the instruments, such that, a respondent could indicate that they purchased any or all of the foods and the data clustering for individual respondents would not be evident. Respondents clearly show a preference for shopping for organic food and indicate that overall they would select organic food over non-organic food if given the choice. Further, the participants in this study appear to shop on a weekly basis for their food, making freshness -- a lack of preservatives and short transportation distances -- an important feature of organic food. Importantly, organic food shoppers in this study don't appear to manifest a strong preference for any particular type of location or source for their organic food needs, visiting farmers' markets, independent stores, and supermarkets when they shop.

IV.A. Limitations of the study. The number of respondents to both the survey and the structured interview is very small. It is not statistically possible to make generalizations about the general organic food customer from the data due to the low subject number. Respondents were not asked specifically what their motivation is for buying organic foods, rather the researcher must infer from their responses to the survey and questionnaire items what those preferences are or were. Should the researcher conduct follow-up via email, it would be interesting to ask respondents what their motivations are for purchasing organic food, and to rank order those motivations in terms of the strongest to the weakest motivation for organic food shopping and purchases.

V. Conclusion

Organic food continues to find a strong market and the trend in sales and revenue is definitively positive. The uncertainties of foreign food safety due to non-compliance with regulations and corruption at the local level -- whether at the food source itself, or the site of manufacturing or packaging -- appears to be strengthening the organic food market. Consumers, particularly those who regularly purchase organic foods, are convinced that the food is a good value, apparently both in terms of safety and nutrition -- and sometimes even with regard to taste. These organic food consumers tend to trust the organic label, shopping weekly at independent stores, farmers' markets, and even supermarkets.

VI. Recommendations

Organic food growers and sellers would do well to promote their organic food as safer than food that comes from any unknown sources. Promoting the local source aspect of organic food is critical because consumers have become circumspect regarding food that comes from less-regulated markets. Foods that have foreign market labels -- from Chile, Italy, and Mexico, for example -- must include language specifying the standards and certifications of organic farmers' associations. Consumers who shop for organic food appear to do so on a weekly basis, so freshness of organic food is attractive and can be an additional marketing strategy.

References

Baxter, B. 2006. Who's buying organic? Demographics 2006, HartBeat, Retrieved

http://www.hartman-group.com/products/HB/2006_05_17.html

Burke, C. (2007) To buy or not to buy organic: What you need to know to choose the healthiest, safest, most earth-friendly food. New York, NY: Marlowe & Company.

Cassetty, S.B. (2010, November) Organic food: What's really worth it? Good Housekeeping. Retrieved http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/product-reviews/food-products / organic-food-reviews/organic-food-whats-really-worth-it

Darnhofer, I., Lindenthal, T., Bartel-Kratochvil, R., and Zollitsch, W. (2010) Conventionalisation of organic farming practices: From structural criteria towards an assessment based on organic principles. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 30(1), 67=81.Retrieved http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/agro/2009011

Gale, F., and Buzby, J.C. (2009, July) Imports from China and food safety issues. ERS Report Summary. Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB52/EIB52_ReportSummary.pdf

Lairon, D. (2010) Nutritional quality and safety of organic food: A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 30(1), 33-41.Retrieved http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/agro/2009019

Oberholtzer, L. And Dimitri, C. (2009, September) Marketing U.S. organic foods: Recent trends from farms to consumers. Economic Research Service, Economic Information Bulletin Number 58, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved http://www.ers.usda.gov / publications/eib58/eib58.pdf

Williams, C.M. (2002) Nutritional quality of organic food: Shades of grey or shades of green? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 61, 19-24. doi:10.1079/PNS2001126 Retrieved http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FPNS%2FPNS61_01%2FS0029665102000058a.pdf&code=3887850612483e071d84a553e6b92ef1

Worthington, V. (2001, April) Nutritional quality of organic vs. conventional fruits, vegetables, and grains. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 7(2): 161-173. doi:10.1089/107555301750164244. [END OF PREVIEW]

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