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Analysis Of Consumer Attitudes Toward Organic Produce Purchase Likelihood


  • Byrne, Patrick J.
  • Toensmeyer, Ulrich C.
  • German, Carl L.
  • Muller, H. Reed


This study demographically determines: which consumers are currently buying organic produce; consumer comparisons of organic and conventional produce; and consumer purchase likelihood of higher-priced organic produce. Data were collected from a Delaware consumer survey, dealing with fresh produce and food safety. Multinomial and ordered logit models were developed to generate marginal effects of age, gender, education, and income. Increasing age, males, and advancing education demonstrated positive effects on the likelihood that the consumer was not a regular purchaser of organic produce. Respondents with at least a Bachelor degree were more likely to have organic purchase experience among the non-regular purchasers. A majority of respondents rated organics to be superior overall to conventionally grown produce, with increasing age, males, advancing education, and high income having a negative effect on this probability. Most consumers felt that organic produce would cost at least somewhat more than conventional produce, where females and advancing education positively affected this outcome. Less than one out of every four respondents demonstrated a strong purchase likelihood of a higher-priced organic produce alternative. Young females with a high school degree or less and above average household income were the highest probability group to purchase costlier organic produce. A nationwide poll concluded that only 28.3 percent of consumers actually sought out organic or limited pesticide-use produce, even though over seventy percent responded that organic produce provides better long-term health effects than conventionally grown produce (Organic Gardening). Some retailers maintain that appearance and price are prohibitive factors in consumer adoption of organic produce (Mejia). These indicators suggest that consumer apathy towards healthfulness hinders consumers from searching out organic produce. However, an area study has shown that availability was consistently identified as a major explanation for not purchasing organics (Byrne). Perhaps consumers are not even aware that the organic alternative exists, or they are not willing to look for organics outside of supermarkets or roadside stands (Byrne). Ireland and Falk stated that "a majority of groceries do not handle organics because of low availability and perceived consumer demand." Their study found that food retailers, who do handle organics, were almost unanimous in stating that availability was not a problem. Ott and Maligaya found that the majority of consumers would reject organics, if organics were of a lesser quality than conventionally grown produce. Since organics have grown to be a billion dollar industry (Waterfield), one may assume genuine consumer demand. The studies discussed here do show a purchase likelihood restraint due to price and quality. The Delmarva study indicates that availability is also a deterrent, perhaps larger than price and quality (Byrne). The purpose of this study is to determine which consumers are and are not buying organic produce, and to analyze their characteristic relationships between organic and conventionally grown produce, as well as their purchase likelihoods. Additionally, the study analyzes the effects that consumer demographics have on these relationships.

Suggested Citation

  • Byrne, Patrick J. & Toensmeyer, Ulrich C. & German, Carl L. & Muller, H. Reed, 1991. "Analysis Of Consumer Attitudes Toward Organic Produce Purchase Likelihood," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 22(2), June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:jlofdr:27608

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ireland, Polly E. & Falk, Constance L., 1990. "Organic Food Adoption Decisions By New Mexico Groceries," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 21(3), September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Evans, Jason R. & D'Souza, Gerard E. & Collins, Alan R. & Brown, Cheryl & Sperow, Mark, 2011. "Determining Consumer Perceptions of and Willingness to Pay for Appalachian Grass-Fed Beef: An Experimental Economics Approach," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 40(2), August.
    2. Idda, Lorenzo & Madau, Fabio A. & Pulina, Pietro, 2008. "The Motivational Profile of Organic Food Consumers: a Survey of Specialized Stores Customers in Italy," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43946, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Govindasamy, Ramu & DeCongelio, Marc & Italia, John & Barbour, Bruce & Anderson, Karen, 2001. "Empirically Evaluating Consumer Characteristics and Satisfaction with Organic Products," P Series 36736, Rutgers University, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics.
    4. Adelina Gschwandtner & Michael Burton, 2017. "The Willingness to Pay for Organic Attributes in the UK," Studies in Economics 1702, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    5. Gentile, Natacha & Rodríguez, Elsa Mirta M., 2006. "El consumo de alimentos orgánicos: aplicación de un modelo logit multinomial a la elección del canal de compra," Nülan. Deposited Documents 1065, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Sociales, Centro de Documentación.
    6. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:607-:d:95859 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Zepeda, Lydia & Griffith, Garry R. & Chang, Hui-Shung (Christie), 2004. "Issues and Research Needs of the Australian Organic Food Products Market," Working Papers 12924, University of New England, School of Economics.
    8. Patrick J. Byrne & J. Richard Bacon & Ulrich C. Toensmeyer, 1994. "Pesticide residue concerns and shopping location likelihood," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(6), pages 491-501.
    9. repec:oup:revage:v:29:y:2007:i:4:p:783-800. is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lupín, Beatriz & Lacaze, María Victoria & Rodríguez, Elsa Mirta M., 2007. "Las percepciones de riesgo de los consumidores en alimentos lácteos: aplicación de una regresión logística ordinal," Nülan. Deposited Documents 1287, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Sociales, Centro de Documentación.
    11. Kelly B. Maguire & Nicole Owens & Nathalie B. Simon, 2004. "Focus on Babies: Evidence on Parental Attitudes Towards Pesticide Risks," NCEE Working Paper Series 200402, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Mar 2004.
    12. Rodriguez, Elsa M. & Lacaze, Maria Victoria & Lupin, Beatriz, 2007. "Willingness to pay for organic food in Argentina: Evidence from a consumer survey," 105th Seminar, March 8-10, 2007, Bologna, Italy 7873, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    13. Zepeda, Lydia & Leviten-Reid, Catherine, 2004. "Consumers' Views on Local Food," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 35(03), November.
    14. Rodríguez, Elsa Mirta M. & Lupín, Beatriz & Lacaze, María Victoria, 2006. "Incidencia de los atributos de calidad en las percepciones y elecciones de los consumidores de alimentos orgánicos," Nülan. Deposited Documents 1066, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Sociales, Centro de Documentación.
    15. Wier, Mette & O'Doherty Jensen, Katherine & Andersen, Laura Mørch & Millock, Katrin, 2008. "The character of demand in mature organic food markets: Great Britain and Denmark compared," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 406-421, October.
    16. Hans Ruediger Kaufmann & Mohammad Fateh Ali Khan Panni & Yianna Orphanidou, 2012. "Factors Affecting Consumers’ Green Purchasing Behavior: An Integrated Conceptual Framework," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 14(31), pages 50-69, February.
    17. Groff, Andrew J. & Kreider, Craig Robert & Toensmeyer, Ulrich C., 1993. "Analysis Of The Delaware Market For Organically Grown Produce," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 24(1), February.
    18. repec:eee:ijrema:v:28:y:2011:i:3:p:167-180 is not listed on IDEAS

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