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Literature Reveiw About Ethics And Organic Food

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Attitudes and motivations that influence the selection of organic food among consumers

Adeline Mariй Supervisor : M. Bloom

ETU 20030459


General Background 4

1 Market development and cultural factors. 5

1.1 Culture influences the food choice. 5

1.2 The level of development of the country market influences organic food choice 6

1.2.1 A cross- national study of Danish and New-Zealand organic consumers. 6

1.2.2 The moderators of consumption depend on the market development 7

2 The attitudes that influence consumer 9

2.1 Attitudes and the Theory of Planned Behaviour 9

2.1.1 Attitudes 9

2.1.2 The Theory of Planned Behaviour and consumers ethics 9

2.2 The TPB in the context of organic food consumption 11

2.2.1 The importance of subjective norms as antecedents of values. 11

2.2.2 The multivariate modelling approach of ethical consumer choice 11

3 The relationship between Values and organic consumption 13

3.1 Presentation and meaning of values 13

3.2 Exploring the organic food consumption towards the Schwartz Value Survey 14

3.3 Relationship between personal values, ethical ideology and ethical beliefs 15

3.3.1 Hunt-Vitell theory of ethics 15

3.3.2 Findings about the relationship between personal values, ethical beliefs and ethical ideology 17

4 Analyzing the organic consumers through their motivation and their socio-demographic factors 18

4.1 What are the main motivations towards organic consumption? 18

4.1.1 The health motives 18

4.1.2 The environmentally friendly consumers 18

4.1.3 The food safety 18

4.1.4 The taste of the product 18

4.1.5 The confidence on food industry 19

4.2 The consumers' profiles by countries 19

4.3 Conclusion 24

5 A global approach of organics selection by the consumers. 25

5.1 The Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ) 25

5.2 Studying the organic consumers in a global context. 26

5.2.1 Presentation of the research and general results 26

5.2.2 Discussion and tracks of explanation of the behaviour 27

6 Conceptual framework and propositions 29

6.1 The conceptual Framework 29

Conclusion 30


General Background

Since the last ten years, the fastest growing sector in the food industry has been the organic food. Organic food are certified by labels that ensure that they are produced without pesticides and antibiotics and that they preserve the environment with the use of renewable resources (Organic Produce Export Committee, 2002, cited Lea and Worsley, 2005). In France, the AB label ensures that at least 95% of the production is organic and compels the producers to state clearly the origin and the method of production (CSA Agence Bio, 2006).

In France in 2006, 43% of the population has consumed organic product at least once a month which corresponds to an increase of 6% since 2003. The growth rate of organic consumption is about 10 percent per year since 1999. (CSA Agence Bio,2006). Abroad, the same phenomena occurs, and organic, even if it represented no more than 3% of total food consumption in Europe (Soil Association 2000, cited in Aarset et al. 2004) appears to be real trend that will growth over time. This mainstream has been strengthening by the BSE scandal and the controversy about the genetically modified food effects.

Regarding this postulate, researchers and marketers began to study the organic consumer in the late 90's. It is very important for food providers to understand why the consumers purchase this new kind of food. In our study, we chose to focus on the determination of consumers' profiles as well as their motives to act. Most of the studies we discuss emphasized on the determination of consumers profiles in term of socio-demographic factors related to their attitudes or motivation. But we can wonder if those factors are sufficient in order to give a global understanding of the organics buyers. The research problem is here to define which factors influence the organic food consumption, and to understand their inter-relationship in a global context of food consumption. In a first part, we will try to understand the impact on culture on consumption and then the need to look at each country particularly. Then we will discuss the main factors that influence the consumers that is to say: attitudes, values and motivations (combined with socio-demographic factors). Eventually, we will present and analyse the research we decided to base our study on in order to develop the constructs and the propositions of the conceptual framework.

1 Market development and cultural factors.

1.1 Culture influences the food choice.

The most primary factor that gives a direction to an individual is certainly is culture or region of origin. Solomon (1991, chap 15) defines it as "a society's personality".



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