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Organic wheat products and consumer choice: a market segmentation analysis

Tatiana Drugova (Department of Applied Economics, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA)
Kynda R. Curtis (Department of Applied Economics, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA)
Sherzod B. Akhundjanov (Department of Applied Economics, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 28 April 2020

Issue publication date: 11 June 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines determinants of consumer interest in organic versions of wheat products by analyzing differences in selected factors among groups of consumers, distinguished by their likelihood of purchasing organic wheat products. The analysis is performed for bread and cookies to examine whether the findings are different for virtue and vice food categories.

Design/methodology/approach

A consumer survey was conducted across the western United States in 2017. Latent class modeling is used to identify groups of “very likely,” “likely” and “unlikely” consumers of organic wheat products, based on preferences for organic wheat products and attitudes toward organics in general.

Findings

Consumer preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for organic foods depend on product type. Additionally, significant differences are found across consumer groups—regardless of product type—in the importance they place on labels and product characteristics, WTP, reasons for (not) purchasing organic products and consumption limitations.

Research limitations/implications

The group of organic consumers may be underrepresented in the sample. In addition, since actual behavior was not observed—respondents provided only stated preferences or responses to hypothetical questions—the results should be interpreted carefully.

Originality/value

Few studies have examined preferences for organic wheat products across consumer groups. This study is also the first to examine the connection between wheat/gluten intolerance/avoidance and preference for organic versions of wheat products. Finally, this study adds to the limited literature on consumer preferences for organic virtue and vice food products.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (grant number 2014-51300-22240). The authors are also thankful for all comments and suggestions received during the review process. This research was supported by the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, Utah State University, and approved as journal paper number #9204.

Citation

Drugova, T., Curtis, K.R. and Akhundjanov, S.B. (2020), "Organic wheat products and consumer choice: a market segmentation analysis", British Food Journal, Vol. 122 No. 7, pp. 2341-2358. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-08-2019-0626

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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