This research paper focuses on why intentions to buy organic and/or eco-friendly food are not always manifested in practice. Based on Warde's antinomies of structural opposition, we found several consumer dilemmas including the dilemma of choosing between organic and eco-friendly food. This study addresses ethical and environmental concerns that contemporary Swedish consumers have when eating organic and taking environmental action and presents some consumer strategies used to cope with these concerns.
The empirical data was collected from a consumer panel followed during 18 months. A mix of qualitative methods was used; interviews, shop-along studies, ZMET, collecting shopping receipts and poems.
The research paper contributes with knowledge about the dilemma between organic and eco-friendly. It further defines the strategy of “justification of non-choices” as the most common consumer strategy to cope with the dilemma.
Results from this study shows that conscious consumers often face a conflict between buying organic food and taking environmental considerations. In order to solve the conflict consumers used various strategies; justification of non-choices was the most common strategy.
For wholesalers and retailers the results show that conscious consumers demands groceries that are both organic and eco-friendly in order to act on intentions.
By using innovative qualitative methods this report identifies some contemporary consumer dilemmas. The dilemma that the most conscious consumers have is the dilemma between organic and eco-friendly. In order to solve this “justification of non-choices” is the most common strategy for consumers to handle the dilemma.
© Maria Frostling-Henningsson, Martin Hedbom and Ludvig Wilandh. Published by Emerald Group Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/3.0/legalcode The authors would like to thank all the households who so generously shared their opinions about food. This study was carried out with financial support from HUR, Handelns utvecklingsråd (The Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council funds research) and Vinnova. We would also like to acknowledge the retail chain Axfood, and four food producers; Atria Scandinavia, Findus AB, Lantmännen Cerealia and Santa Maria AB who supported this study.
Frostling-Henningsson, M., Hedbom, M. and Wilandh, L. (2014), "Intentions to buy “organic” not manifested in practice", British Food Journal, Vol. 116 No. 5, pp. 872-887. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-11-2010-0190Download as .RIS
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