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UK Consumers Priorities for Sustainable Food Purchases


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  • Clonan, Angie
  • Holdsworth, Michelle
  • Swift, Judy
  • Wilson, Paul
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    Although interest in ‘sustainable food’ has grown substantially in recent years, an official definition for sustainability has yet to be agreed upon. ‘Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming’ provide guidance to consumers wishing to make more sustainable food purchases, in the form of seven guiding principles. Using these principles, this study seeks to assess UK consumer’s priorities towards sustainable food. A detailed structured questionnaire explored shopping habits, attitudes to sustainable food components (organic, fair-trade, local food and animal welfare), stated purchasing behaviour and demographic information. Questionnaires were sent to 2,500 randomly selected Nottinghamshire (UK) residents. A response rate of 35.6% was achieved. The data reveals that consumers prioritise packaging, how food is produced and animal welfare when considering sustainable food components. Stated purchasing behaviour demonstrates that ‘free range’ and ‘local’ products are more likely to take precedence over other sustainability aspects. Future research will seek to compare and contrast stated and actual preferences by comparing the population survey results to actual purchasing behaviour from supermarket data.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Agricultural Economics Society in its series 84th Annual Conference, March 29-31, 2010, Edinburgh, Scotland with number 91948.

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    Date of creation: 29 Mar 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aesc10:91948

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    Keywords: Consumer; sustainable food; purchasing behaviour; free range; local; animal welfare; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety;

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    Cited by:
    1. Sackett, Hillary M. & Shupp, Robert S. & Tonsor, Glynn T., 2011. "Consumer Perceptions of Sustainable Farming Practices: A Best-Worst Scenario," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103791, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.


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