Contribution from purchase frequency to understanding organic food consumers
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by David PearsonDavid Pearson, J Henryks, Parves SultanParves Sultan, T Anisimova
In order to identify some of the barriers preventing the expansion of the organic market, this paper reviews the current literature on consumers’ buying behavior in relation to organic food. This reveals a significant disparity between consumers’ positive attitudes towards organic food and their low levels of actual purchasing, yet fails to provide conclusive evidence regarding the reasons for this attitude-behavior gap. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether an analysis of frequency of organic food purchases will provide insights into the reasons for this. Results indicate that buyers vary in their frequency of organic food purchases, from a relatively small proportion of consumers who purchase it regularly–at least once per week (around one in ten) to many who have never purchased it (around one in four). Most organic food buyers are partnered (70%), many are from lower income households (30%), and a large number (20%) have been purchasing for less than one year. And finally those who purchase organic products more frequently place higher importance on the attributes that differentiate organic products from alternatives, namely environment, health and product quality. From the perspective of expanding sales in the organic market the key challenge appears to be finding ways to convince existing consumers to purchase more organic products. Persuasive and targeted marketing communications will assist in achieving this, however structural issues in the organic industry, such as its massive diversity; in range in products, geographic spread and size of operations, make it hard to present consistent marketing communication messages.