Decision making process of community organic food consumers: an exploratory study

Leila Hamzaoui Essoussi (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Mehdi Zahaf (Faculty of Business Administration, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Publication date: 21 March 2008



Substantial changes in the organic food sector and recent studies on the Canadian organic food market are showing promising trends. However, community organic food markets are different from organic food mainstream markets. In a domain growing in theoretical and practical importance, the main objective of this paper is to develop an understanding and analysis of “community organic food market”.


Focus groups were conducted and data collected were analyzed using content analysis.


Five main themes emerged and brought contributions in terms of: organic food definition and recognition, organic food consumers' motivations, trust with regard to organic food, labeling and certification process, organic food distribution channels, and the proposition of a conceptual model of decision making with regard to organic food consumers in small communities.

Research limitations/implications

Data collection was conducted in only one small community location and should be extended to other small communities as well as urban city centers.

Practical implications

This study provides some insights to managers in terms of the market mix and target marketing of organic food niche markets.


The paper explores the difference between an organic food mainstream market and an organic food niche/community market using a consumer behaviour perspective.



Hamzaoui Essoussi, L. and Zahaf, M. (2008), "Decision making process of community organic food consumers: an exploratory study", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 95-104.

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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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