Explaining organic purchase reasoning by interest in local production and concerns about the environment and biotechnology

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Interest in the benefits of sustainable agriculture among U.S. consumers has given rise to the well-developed market for organic food and fiber products. However, the sustainability movement continues to develop in reach and complexity, with social and economic concerns joining environmental concerns as impetus for consumer decisions. A survey of 69 participants in an auction of organic apparel products found that while about half of the participants (31) had high levels of concern about the environmental impact of apparel production, there were far fewer participants who felt strongly about genetic modification or buying locally produced products (localism). The frequency of group membership suggests that while it is common to feel strongly about the environment or the environment and another issue, it is much less common to feel strongly about buying local and/or genetic modification but not feel strongly about the environment. This suggests that attitudes towards genetic modification or localism may not overlap with each other but do overlap with attitudes towards the environment. The results highlight the complexity of consumer motivations for making organic purchases and remind producers that despite unifying labeling, organic products remain a bundle of attributes with different values depending on the orientation of the consumer.

Hustvedt, G., Bernard, J.C. (2011). Explaining organic purchase reasoning by interest in local production and concerns about the environment and biotechnology. International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, 7(1), 71-80.

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