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Abstract

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 111 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 26 September 2009

Joris Aertsens, Wim Verbeke, Koen Mondelaers and Guido Van Huylenbroeck

A lot of literature is available that discusses personal determinants of organic food consumption. However different models and determinants are used in the literature…

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.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 111 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 September 2009

Christine Hoefkens, Wim Verbeke, Joris Aertsens, Koen Mondelaers and John Van Camp

The present study aims to explore and compare consumer perception and scientific evidence related to food quality and food safety aspects of organic versus conventional vegetables.

Abstract

Purpose

The present study aims to explore and compare consumer perception and scientific evidence related to food quality and food safety aspects of organic versus conventional vegetables.

Design/methodology/approach

Primary data on consumer perception were gathered in 2006‐2007 through a consumer survey with Flemish adults (n=529) and compared with scientific evidence from literature. Consumers of organic and conventional vegetables were selected by means of a convenience sampling procedure. Subjects were asked to complete a self‐administered questionnaire concerning the perception of the nutritional and toxicological value of organic relative to conventional vegetables. Data processing and analysis included descriptive analysis (frequency distributions), data reduction (Cronbach's alpha test, factor analysis), bivariate analysis (correlations, t‐test, ANOVA) and multivariate analysis (stepwise multiple regression).

Findings

It was found that organic vegetables are perceived as containing less contaminants and more nutrients, and as such, being healthier and safer compared to conventional vegetables. However, not enough evidence is currently available in the literature to support or refute such a perception, indicating a certain mismatch between consumer perception and scientific evidence. The gap between perception and evidence is larger among older consumers with children. The perception is stronger when the consumption frequency is higher, but is independent of gender, place of residence (rural or urban), education and income level. Also non‐users, on average, perceive that organic vegetables have a nutritional and toxicological advantage over conventional vegetables.

Research limitations/implications

A non‐probability convenience sampling method was applied which limits generalisation of the findings beyond the sample characteristics.

Originality/value

This paper is original in comparing consumer perception and scientific facts related to both nutritional and safety aspects of organic versus conventional vegetables.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 111 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 26 September 2009

Koen Mondelaers, Wim Verbeke and Guido Van Huylenbroeck

This paper aims to explore consumer preference for fresh vegetables labelled as organic in combination with health and environment related quality traits. The study…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore consumer preference for fresh vegetables labelled as organic in combination with health and environment related quality traits. The study decomposes organic farming into its main quality aspects and measures consumers' preference structure for organic, in general, and for specific organic quality traits in particular.

Design/methodology/approach

By means of stated choice preference modelling, the following hypotheses are tested: consumers prefer health over environment related quality traits; the organic label plays a significant role in consumers' choice for organic products; organic farming is perceived as healthier and more environmentally friendly than conventional farming; purchase intention is mainly driven by health related quality traits; both health and environmental concerns influence purchase frequency, though to a different extent. The choice experiment was completed by 527 participants, with four repetitions per participant.

Findings

The health‐related traits score better than environmental traits in shaping consumer preference for organic vegetables. Consumers prefer organic products over B‐branded products, but not over A‐branded products, which suggests that consumers classify organic products among other quality niche products. However, they attribute a better score to the health and environment related quality traits of organic products, indicating a difference in quality cues between organic products and quality products in general. Price becomes less important, whereas presence of an organic label becomes more important with increasing buying intensity of organic vegetables. Undesirable traits, such as pesticide residue levels trigger a stronger response than desirable traits, such as environmental or health benefits.

Original value

The measurement of the role of health and environment quality traits in consumers' decision to buy organic or not is of relevance given the current debate on the factual differences between organic and conventional vegetables. Furthermore, the use of the stated choice preference to test the hypotheses is original and relevant.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 111 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 26 September 2009

Koen Mondelaers, Joris Aertsens and Guido Van Huylenbroeck

This paper aims to perform a meta‐analysis of the literature comparing the environmental impacts of organic and conventional farming and linking these to differences in…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to perform a meta‐analysis of the literature comparing the environmental impacts of organic and conventional farming and linking these to differences in management practises. The studied environmental impacts are related to land use efficiency, organic matter content in the soil, nitrate and phosphate leaching to the water system, greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity.

Design/methodology/approach

The theoretic framework uses the driver‐state‐response framework and literature data were analysed using meta‐analysis methodology. Meta‐analysis is the statistical analysis of multiple study results. Data were obtained by screening peer reviewed literature.

Findings

From the paper's meta‐analysis it can conclude that soils in organic farming systems have on average a higher content of organic matter. It can also conclude that organic farming contributes positively to agro‐biodiversity (breeds used by the farmers) and natural biodiversity (wild life). Concerning the impact of the organic farming system on nitrate and phosphorous leaching and greenhouse gas emissions the result of the analysis is not that straightforward. When expressed per production area organic farming scores better than conventional farming for these items. However, given the lower land use efficiency of organic farming in developed countries, this positive effect expressed per unit product is less pronounced or not present at all.

Original value

Given the recent growth of organic farming and the general perception that organic farming is more environment friendly than its conventional counterpart, it is interesting to explore whether it meets the alleged benefits. By combining several studies in one analysis, the technique of meta‐analysis is powerful and may allow the generation of more nuanced findings and the generalisation of those findings.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 111 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 25 October 2011

Joris Aertsens, Koen Mondelaers, Wim Verbeke, Jeroen Buysse and Guido Van Huylenbroeck

Although the organic market has expanded in recent years, it remains small. Some researchers argue that consumers' lack of knowledge concerning organic food is an…

Abstract

Purpose

Although the organic market has expanded in recent years, it remains small. Some researchers argue that consumers' lack of knowledge concerning organic food is an important factor slowing down growth. This paper aims to focus on the factors influencing objective and subjective knowledge with regard to organic food production and the relationship between both types of knowledge and consumer attitudes and motivations towards organic food and its consumption.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review is presented, relating to the impact of knowledge on behaviour in general and, more specifically, on organic food consumption. Several hypotheses are formulated concerning the relationship between objective and subjective knowledge, attitudes and organic food consumption and these are tested on organic vegetable consumption in Flanders (Belgium). Multiple regression models, a probit model and an analysis of variance are applied to a sample of 529 completed questionnaires (response rate=44 per cent). The respondents were selected in January 2007 using a convenience sampling technique. Socio‐demographic variables are used to check representativeness.

Findings

In the sample, the level of objective knowledge regarding organic vegetables is high. Attitudes towards the consumption of organic vegetables are generally positive. The strongest motivations for consuming organic vegetables are that they are produced without synthetic pesticides, are better for the environment, healthier, of higher quality and taste better. The strongest perceived barriers are overly high prices and lack of availability. Objective and subjective knowledge with regard to organic food production show a positive correlation. Higher levels of objective and subjective knowledge concerning organic food are positively related to a more positive attitude towards organic food, greater experience of it and a more frequent use of information. Membership of an “ecological organisation” (VELT) is also related to higher levels of knowledge. Some variables have a significant positive relationship with subjective knowledge, but not with objective knowledge. Attitude is significantly and positively influenced by subjective knowledge, VELT‐membership, norm, motivations and female gender. Perceived barriers have a significant negative influence on attitude. The likelihood of consuming organic vegetables is significantly and positively influenced by VELT‐membership, subjective knowledge, attitude, motivations and the presence of children in the household. Whilst objective knowledge, norm and female gender have a significantly positive influence on attitude towards organic vegetables, they have no significant influence on the likelihood of actually consuming organic vegetables.

Originality/value

Whilst several researchers argue that knowledge may be a very important factor in increasing organic food consumption, few have studied the mechanisms behind it. To the authors' knowledge this is the first paper describing the impact of knowledge on organic food consumption in such detail. By assessing the impact of knowledge, as well as other factors, on organic food consumption, greater insight is gained with regard to organic food consumption behaviour.

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Article
Publication date: 18 April 2008

Koen Mondelaers and Guido Van Huylenbroeck

The purpose of this paper is to exemplify, by means of a Belgian case study, the transition of multiple certification schemes currently employed in the food sector towards…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to exemplify, by means of a Belgian case study, the transition of multiple certification schemes currently employed in the food sector towards a single retail driven higher end spot market.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were obtained by means of focus group sessions, a survey, in depth interviews and a literature review. The theoretical framework builds upon institutional economics, the competitive forces as identified by Porter, and the theory of system innovations. The article illustrates the current institutional setting of certification, the drive towards a premium spot market and the consequences for the participants in the schemes.

Findings

This paper illustrates that a shift towards a premium spot market is indeed apparent. The paper furthermore argues that the dynamics of certification schemes are characterized by processes of contraction (mergers) followed by relaxation (diversification). The paper concludes that the retail sector is the primary beneficiary of the shift towards a single premium spot market. For the remainder of the food chain members, it is less clear whether the overall effect is positive.

Originality/value

The question of multiple certification schemes merging into a single retail driven scheme is approached from different stakeholders' point of views. Furthermore, the different factors steering this transition are elucidated and empirically confirmed. Both elements make this paper a valuable contribution to the existing literature on certification and coordination mechanisms in the food chain.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 110 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 September 2009

Eline de Backer, Joris Aertsens, Sofie Vergucht and Walter Steurbaut

Sustainable agriculture implies the ability of agro‐ecosystems to remain productive in the long‐term. It is not easy to point out unambiguously whether or not current…

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainable agriculture implies the ability of agro‐ecosystems to remain productive in the long‐term. It is not easy to point out unambiguously whether or not current production systems meet this sustainability demand. A priori thinking would suggest that organic crops are environmentally favourable, but may ignore the effect of reduced productivity, which shifts the potential impact to other parts of the food provision system. The purpose of this paper is to assess the ecological sustainability of conventional and organic leek production by means of life cycle assessment (LCA).

Design/methodology/approach

A cradle‐to‐farm gate LCA is applied, based on real farm data from two research centres. For a consistent comparison, two functional units (FU) were defined: 1ha and 1 kg of leek production.

Findings

Assessed on an area basis, organic farming shows a more favourable environmental profile. These overall benefits are strongly reduced when the lower yields are taken into account. Related to organic farming it is therefore important that solutions are found to substantially increase the yields without increasing the environmental burden. Related to conventional farming, important potential for environmental improvements are in optimising the farm nutrient flows, reducing pesticide use and increasing its self‐supporting capacity.

Research limitations/implications

The research is a cradle‐to‐farm gate LCA, future research can be expanded to comprise all phases from cradle‐to‐grave to get an idea of the total sustainability of our present food consumption patterns. The research is also limited to the case of leek production. Future research can apply the methodology to other crops.

Originality/value

To date, there is still lack of clear evidence of the added value of organic farming compared to conventional farming on environmental basis. Few studies have compared organic and conventional food production by means of LCA. This paper addresses these issues.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 111 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2009

Joris Aertsens, Koen Mondelaers and Guido Van Huylenbroeck

The organic product market can be considered as an emerging market. Since the 1990s it has experienced rapid growth, and supermarket chains have become the sales channel…

Abstract

Purpose

The organic product market can be considered as an emerging market. Since the 1990s it has experienced rapid growth, and supermarket chains have become the sales channel with the largest market share and are the main driver for further growth. However, different supermarket retail groups have very different strategies concerning the marketing of organic products. The purpose of this paper is to gain insight into the different strategies of retailers who are active in the organic product market and to explain the drivers which may underlie them.

Design/methodology/approach

The strategies of the three most important Belgian retailers that market organic products, and in particular organic beef, are analyzed. Data were collected through interviews with the retailers' staff and through observations in retail outlets. Also, GfK‐household panel data which recorded all purchases of 3,000 Belgian households and a postal survey with 529 respondents were used as data sources.

Findings

The different strategies used by retailers to market organic foods are associated with the overall characteristics and marketing strategies of the retail groups. Some retail groups have clear “first mover” advantages from engaging in the organic product line, while for others an adaptive strategy is more appropriate.

Research limitations/implications

The insights from this paper will help the understanding and facilitate the development of future strategies for organic and other high‐value or premium products, which will be of interest to researchers and stakeholders who are active in these markets.

Practical implications

The retail sector is not a single homogeneous block, but instead consists of retailers who pursue quite different strategies. This concept may have major implications for the future development of high‐value markets.

Originality/value

Existing relevant theories were applied to the adoption of the organic product line, a segment in the portfolio of retailers that is becoming more important. The empirical material collected sheds new light on the drivers behind retail strategies.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 111 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

Abstract

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 110 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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