IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Organic food consumption in Europe: International segmentation based on value system differences


  • Ruiz de Maya, Salvador
  • López-López, Inés
  • Munuera, José Luis


In this paper, we analyze the market for organic products in eight European countries, based on differences in their respective value systems. With a significant sample of 8014 consumers, we first identify international segments in the European organic products market using the Values Theory. Then we apply the Theory of Planned Behavior to examine how European consumers use attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control to form their purchase intention for organic products. Results show that subjective norms are the main underlying factor driving consumer behavior concerning these products. This effect is higher for the group of countries whose citizens score higher on Schwartz's value scale. In this segment of countries, people are more likely to be affected by what others think, which means that the best approach is to increase social awareness of the relevance of purchasing organic products. Organic products represent a potentially profitable opportunity for companies with an international horizon. Results are also useful for consumers and public administrations.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruiz de Maya, Salvador & López-López, Inés & Munuera, José Luis, 2011. "Organic food consumption in Europe: International segmentation based on value system differences," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1767-1775, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:10:p:1767-1775

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Biel, Anders & Thogersen, John, 2007. "Activation of social norms in social dilemmas: A review of the evidence and reflections on the implications for environmental behaviour," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 93-112, January.
    2. Ravi Parameswaran & Attila Yaprak, 1987. "A Cross-National Comparison of Consumer Research Measures," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 18(1), pages 35-49, March.
    3. Oded Shenkar, 2001. "Cultural Distance Revisited: Towards a More Rigorous Conceptualization and Measurement of Cultural Differences," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 32(3), pages 519-535, September.
    4. Clark, Timothy & Pugh, Derek S., 2001. "Foreign country priorities in the internationalization process: a measure and an exploratory test on British firms," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 285-303, June.
    5. Kletzan, Daniela & Koppl, Angela & Kratena, Kurt & Schleicher, Stefan & Wuger, Michael, 2006. "Towards sustainable consumption: Economic modelling of mobility and heating for Austria," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 608-626, June.
    6. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    7. William Meredith, 1993. "Measurement invariance, factor analysis and factorial invariance," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 525-543, December.
    8. Kaufmann, Peter & Stagl, Sigrid & Franks, Daniel W., 2009. "Simulating the diffusion of organic farming practices in two New EU Member States," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2580-2593, August.
    9. Bruce Kogut & Harbir Singh, 1988. "The Effect of National Culture on the Choice of Entry Mode," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 19(3), pages 411-432, September.
    10. Vermeir, Iris & Verbeke, Wim, 2008. "Sustainable food consumption among young adults in Belgium: Theory of planned behaviour and the role of confidence and values," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 542-553, January.
    11. Laszlo Tihanyi & David A Griffith & Craig J Russell, 2005. "The effect of cultural distance on entry mode choice, international diversification, and MNE performance: a meta-analysis," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 36(3), pages 270-283, May.
    12. Durvasula, Srinivas, et al, 1993. " Assessing the Cross-National Applicability of Consumer Behavior Models: A Model of Attitude toward Advertising in General," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 626-636, March.
    13. Steenkamp, Jan-Benedict E M & Baumgartner, Hans, 1998. " Assessing Measurement Invariance in Cross-National Consumer Research," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 78-90, June.
    14. Grunert, Suzanne C. & Juhl, Hans Jorn, 1995. "Values, environmental attitudes, and buying of organic foods," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 39-62, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sevtap ÜNAL & F. Görgün DEVECİ & Tuğba YILDIZ, 2019. "The main aim of this study is determining which consumption motives and personal and social factors affect organic food buying decisions. Ajzen’s Planned Behavior Theory (TPB) is used to explain consu," Istanbul Business Research, Istanbul University Business School, vol. 48(1), pages 1-35, May.
    2. Moons, Ingrid & Barbarossa, Camilla & De Pelsmacker, Patrick, 2018. "The Determinants of the Adoption Intention of Eco-friendly Functional Food in Different Market Segments," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 151-161.
    3. Liobikienė, Genovaitė & Mandravickaitė, Justina & Bernatonienė, Jurga, 2016. "Theory of planned behavior approach to understand the green purchasing behavior in the EU: A cross-cultural study," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 38-46.
    4. Robert Bumbac, 2019. "The European Food Market €“ Increased Consumer Preference Towards Convenience And Healthy Food," Junior Scientific Researcher, SC Research Publishing SRL, vol. 5(2), pages 53-61, November.
    5. Barbarossa, Camilla & De Pelsmacker, Patrick & Moons, Ingrid, 2017. "Personal Values, Green Self-identity and Electric Car Adoption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 190-200.
    6. Minton, Elizabeth A. & Spielmann, Nathalie & Kahle, Lynn R. & Kim, Chung-Hyun, 2018. "The subjective norms of sustainable consumption: A cross-cultural exploration," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 400-408.
    7. Tuncay Turan TARABOĞLU & Tuğba Nur TOPALOĞLU & Serdar YAMAN, 2019. "The Effects of Macroeconomic Indicators on Leveraged Forex Volume: Evidence from Turkey," Istanbul Business Research, Istanbul University Business School, vol. 48(2), pages 160-175, November.
    8. Hansen, Torben & Sørensen, Maria Ingerslev & Eriksen, Marie-Louise Riewerts, 2018. "How the interplay between consumer motivations and values influences organic food identity and behavior," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 39-52.
    9. Kim, Seon-Woong & Lusk, Jayson L. & Brorsen, B. Wade, 2018. "“Look at Me, I’m Buying Organic”: The Effects of Social Pressure on Organic Food Purchases," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 43(3), September.
    10. Victoria Masi Haruna, 2014. "A New Model of Green Purchase Intention and its Derivatives: Confirmatory Factor Analysis Validation of Constructs," Information Management and Business Review, AMH International, vol. 6(5), pages 261-268.
    11. Lasarov, Wassili & Mai, Robert & García de Frutos, Nieves & Egea, José Manuel Ortega & Hoffmann, Stefan, 2019. "Counter-arguing as barriers to environmentally motivated consumption reduction: A multi-country study," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 281-305.
    12. Hansen, Torben & Thomsen, Thyra Uth, 2018. "The influence of consumers’ interest in healthy eating, definitions of healthy eating, and personal values on perceived dietary quality," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 55-67.
    13. Nathalie Lazaric & Fabrice Le Guel & Jean Belin & Vanessa Oltra & Sébastien Lavaud & Ali Douai, 2019. "Determinants of sustainable consumption in France: the importance of social influence and environmental values," Post-Print halshs-02387961, HAL.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:10:p:1767-1775. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.