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What are the odds of being an organic or local food shopper? Multivariate analysis of US food shopper lifestyle segments


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  • Lydia Zepeda


  • Cong Nie
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    The growth in organic and local foods consumption has been examined using two different approaches to identify characteristics and motivations of food shoppers: market segmentation and economic models using multivariate analysis. The former approach, based on Means-end Chain theory, examines how intrinsic characteristics of foods affect food choices. The latter microeconomic approach examines economic constraints and extrinsic factors. This study demonstrates value in combining the two approaches to generate better empirical predictions of who buys organic and local food. It also supports a broader theoretical framework to explain behavior in terms of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Using US data, an adaptation of the Food Related Lifestyle model yields four consumer lifestyles segmented by intrinsic motivations related to food. Each consumer segment exhibits distinct organic and local foods consumption behaviors. A multinomial logit model is estimated to examine the probability of being in one of these four groups as a function of extrinsic variables and economic constraints. In support of Alphabet theory and Regulatory Focus theory, we find that inclusion of extrinsic factors improves prediction of behavior and the ability to explain why they buy organic and local foods. The extrinsic variables that significantly increase the probability of being in a particular consumer food lifestyle segment include: environmental concerns, health practices, race, the presence of a farmers’ market, and to a lesser degree, family composition and income. We also find regulatory focus is most pronounced among the most active organic and local food shoppers. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Agriculture and Human Values.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 467-480

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:29:y:2012:i:4:p:467-480

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    Keywords: Alphabet theory; Consumer behavior; Lifestyle segmentation;


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    1. Brunso, Karen & Scholderer, Joachim & Grunert, Klaus G., 2004. "Closing the gap between values and behavior--a means-end theory of lifestyle," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 665-670, June.
    2. Onianwa, Okwudili O. & Wheelock, Gerald & Mojica, Maribel N., 2005. "An Analysis of the Determinants of Farmer-to-Consumer Direct-Market Shoppers," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 36(01), March.
    3. Zepeda, Lydia & Leviten-Reid, Catherine, 2004. "Consumers' Views on Local Food," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 35(03), November.
    4. Jonathan Levav & Ran Kivetz & Cecile K. Cho, 2010. "Motivational Compatibility and Choice Conflict," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(3), pages 429-442, October.
    5. Eastwood, David B. & Brooker, John R. & Gray, Morgan D., 1999. "Location And Other Market Attributes Affecting Farmer'S Market Patronage: The Case Of Tennessee," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 30(1), March.
    6. Dimitri, Carolyn & Greene, Catherine R., 2002. "Recent Growth Patterns In The U.S. Organic Foods Market," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33715, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    7. Jekanowski, Mark D. & Williams, Daniel R., II & Schiek, William A., 2000. "Consumers' Willingness To Purchase Locally Produced Agricultural Products: An Analysis Of An Indiana Survey," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 29(1), April.
    8. Gary D. Thompson & Julia Kidwell, 1998. "Explaining the Choice of Organic Produce: Cosmetic Defects, Prices, and Consumer Preferences," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(2), pages 277-287.
    9. Jayson L. Lusk & Brian C. Briggeman, 2009. "Food Values," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(1), pages 184-196.
    10. Wolf, Marianne McGarry & Spittler, Arianne & Ahern, James, 2005. "A Profile of Farmers' Market Consumers and the Perceived Advantages of Produce Sold at Farmers' Markets," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 36(01), March.
    11. Zepeda, Lydia & Li, Jinghan, 2007. "Characteristics of Organic Food Shoppers," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 39(01), April.
    12. Zepeda, Lydia & Li, Jinghan, 2006. "Who Buys Local Food?," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 37(03), November.
    13. Lydia Zepeda & Hui-Shung Chang & Catherine Leviten-Reid, 2006. "Organic Food Demand: A Focus Group Study Involving Caucasian and African-American Shoppers," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 385-394, October.
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