Personal determinants of organic food consumption: a review

Joris Aertsens (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Wim Verbeke (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Koen Mondelaers (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Guido Van Huylenbroeck (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Publication date: 26 September 2009

Abstract

Purpose

A lot of literature is available that discusses personal determinants of organic food consumption. However different models and determinants are used in the literature. This paper aims to provide an overview, within a framework linking Schwartz' values theory and the theory of planned behaviour (TPB). Also it seeks to focus on the importance of affective attitude, emotions, personal norm, involvement and uncertainty related to organic food consumption.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on secondary data sources, namely the literature concerning personal determinants of organic food consumption.

Findings

Both the values theory and the theory of planned behaviour have been referred to as relevant theories for better understanding consumers' choice for organic food. Organic food consumption decisions can be explained by relating attributes of organic food with more abstract values such as “security”, “hedonism”, “universalism”, “benevolence”, “stimulation”, “self‐direction” and “conformity”. Appealing to these values can positively influence attitudes towards organic food consumption. Besides attitude, subjective and personal norm and (perceived) behavioural control influence consumption of organic food.

Research limitations/implications

More research related to the role of uncertainty (reduction) during the process of buying organic food is recommended.

Practical implications

Relatively little research has examined the affective component of attitude and emotions in relation to organic food consumption, while these may play an important role as drivers of involvement and thus help to jolt food purchasers out of their routine of buying conventional food and set a first step to adopt organic food.

Originality/value

To the authors' knowledge, this is the first paper providing a comprehensive overview and linking the literature on organic food consumption to the values theory and the theory of planned behaviour, including the role of personal norm and focusing on emotions. The proposed integration of mental processing in an organic food consumption model leads to interesting hypotheses and recommendations for policy makers, researchers and stakeholders involved in the organic food market.

Keywords

Citation

Aertsens, J., Verbeke, W., Mondelaers, K. and Van Huylenbroeck, G. (2009), "Personal determinants of organic food consumption: a review", British Food Journal, Vol. 111 No. 10, pp. 1140-1167. https://doi.org/10.1108/00070700910992961

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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