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Consumers' preferences for ethical values of organic food.

Zander, Katrin and Hamm, Ulrich (2009) Consumers' preferences for ethical values of organic food. In: Millar, Kate; Hobson West, Pru and Nerlich, Brigitte (Eds.) Ethical futures: Bioscience and food horizons. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, pp. 400-405.

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Summary

Consumers increasingly criticise food that is produced under unsatisfactory social and environmental conditions. From the very beginning, organic food production included ethical aspects and did not only care for the environment and animal welfare but also for social aspects of people affected by the organic supply chain. With the organic sector gaining additional market shares, products from organic mass production become more and more important and competition is predominantly a question of price. Ethical values going beyond the standards of the EU regulation on organic farming are no longer features of large parts of organic production. Against this background, the question arises whether there is a demand and an increased willingness to pay for 'ethical' organic food. This would create possibilities of product and market differentiation with respect to ethical products.
This paper investigates various ethical communication arguments from consumers' perspective by means of an Information-Display-Matrix (IDM) in five European countries. The IDM is a process tracing method aiming at monitoring the information acquisition and purchase behaviour of consumers. Seven different ethical attributes and the product price were tested with about 1200 consumers. The most important ethical attributes turned out to be 'animal welfare', 'regional production' and 'fair prices for farmers'. These attributes were followed by 'product price', indicating that consumers tend to prefer cheaper products over ethical products with attributes like 'care farming', 'social criteria of production', 'protection of biodiversity' and 'cultural aspects'. There are only minor differences between the countries regarding the order of the most important attributes. Altogether, the results allow the conclusion that a large share of consumers of organic food would be willing to pay a price premium for 'ethical' products.


EPrint Type:Book chapter
Keywords:consumer behaviour, market research, Information-Display-Matrix, Farmer Consumer Partnership, BÖL, BOEL, FKZ 07OE004
Subjects: Food systems > Markets and trade
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic > FCP
Germany > Federal Organic Farming Scheme - BOELN > Economics > Vermarktung
Germany > University of Kassel > Department of Agricultural- and Food Marketing
ISBN:978-90-8686-115-6
Related Links:http://www.bundesprogramm-oekolandbau.de/, http://www.bundesprogramm.de/fkz=07OE004, http://orgprints.org/perl/search/advanced?addtitle%2Ftitle=&keywords=07OE004&projects=BOEL&_order=bypublication&_action_search=Suchen
Deposited By: Zander, Dr. Katrin
ID Code:18603
Deposited On:06 Apr 2011 13:46
Last Modified:11 Apr 2011 07:53
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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