Consumer perceptions of organic foods in Bangkok, Thailand
In response to food scares related to high levels of pesticide residues sometimes found on vegetables and fruits, consumers in Thailand increasingly demand 'safe' foods. This has resulted in a number of initiatives and labels indicating 'pesticide safe' vegetables. However, the pesticide-residue problem has proved enduring. This opens a market opportunity for organic foods, which are produced entirely without using synthetic chemicals. As little is known on consumer perception of organic foods in Thailand, a survey was conducted in Bangkok. More than a third of the 848 respondents reported having purchased organic vegetables or fruits in the past. The main reasons for purchasing organic products are that consumers expect them to be healthier, that organic products are environmentally friendly. The respondents who have bought organic vegetables tend to be older, have a higher education level and a higher family income than those who have not bought them. The main barrier to increasing the market share of organic vegetables is that consumers do not clearly differentiate between the various 'pesticide safe' labels and the organic labels. Informing consumers about unique characteristics of organic production methods, the strict inspection and required third party certification might be a promising strategy to develop the market for organic vegetables in Thailand's urban centers.
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