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Organic food consumers’ trade-offs between local or imported, conventional or organic products: a qualitative study in Shanghai

Sirieix, Lucie ; Kledal, Paul Rye and Sulitang, Tuerxunbieke (2011) Organic food consumers’ trade-offs between local or imported, conventional or organic products: a qualitative study in Shanghai. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 35 (2011), pp. 670-678.

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This paper presents a qualitative study of the trade-offs made by organic food product consumers in the Chinese Metropolis of Shanghai. More precisely, this article deals with trade-offs that consumers make between three types of products: (1) locally produced organic food products, (2) products that are locally and conventionally produced and (3)imported organic food products.
We used a qualitative methodology using open questions and projective techniques and based on 23 individual interviews. Local organic products are the products best perceived by the Chinese interviewees, who think that organic food is beneficial to health and makes agriculture more environmentally friendly. The fact that food is produced locally is another positive argument for many interviewees who do not perceive any important differences between local and imported, more expensive, organic food products. Local and conventionally produced food products give rise to worries related to health and consumers buy them only because they are much cheaper than organic products. The reasons for choosing organic products are mostly related to health issues. Altruistic motives such as environmental concerns, food miles concerns or support for small producers are only emerging.
This study mostly highlighted consumers’ trade-offs between different individual benefits, mainly health vs. economic benefits. However, some trade-offs between altruistic (environmental concerns) and individual (economic) benefits are apparent, confirming emerging altruistic motives behind organic food consumption.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Consumer trade-offs, environmental concerns, local and organic food, organic food in China.
Subjects: Values, standards and certification > Consumer issues
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF III (2005-2010) > GLOBALORG - Sustainability of organic farming in a global food chains perspective
France > INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Deposited By: Kledal, Dr. Paul Rye
ID Code:20365
Deposited On:16 Jan 2012 09:25
Last Modified:06 Nov 2012 17:39
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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