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CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS
CONSUMPTION OF ORGANIC FOOD PRODUCTS: AN EMPIRICAL STUDY

 

o   
Mr.Abhishek.Singh,

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Student-PGDM-ABPM ,Indian Institute of
Plantation Management
Bangalore – 560056, INDIA
E-Mail: [email protected]

 

o   
Mr.U.A.Somanna

Student-PGDM-ABPM ,Indian Institute of
Plantation Management
Bangalore – 560056, INDIA
E-Mail: [email protected]

 

o   
Ganeshkumar Chandirasekaran*
Assistant Professor ,Indian Institute of Plantation Management
Bangalore – 560056, INDIA
E-Mail: [email protected]

ABSTRACT

With
the increased awareness among people about maintaining healthy life style by
consuming healthy foods, on a daily routine, has made the Indian consumers, to
gradually shift towards consumption of organic food products. Though organic
food is gaining popularity day by day, there are few factors that are
preventing the rate of consumption & adoption, to grow at a faster rate.
Organic food products are not new to the new Indian farmers too. However there
is not much domestic consumption taking place, despite the fact that India is
one of the top 10 countries, practicing organic agriculture. So it’s not the
supply side, but the demand side, that’s playing the spoil sport. Through this
research work, efforts were made to understand the factors that are hampering
the consumption of organic food products, by the Indian consumers and also to
understand the consumer perspective towards organic food. The research was
conducted by collecting 60 primary data, through a structured questionnaire, by
random selection of respondents, in a metropolitan city, Bangalore, India and
the data were analyzed using SPSS analysis tool and statistical techniques of
descriptive statistics like charts, tables, standard deviation and mean were
applied in the paper. Through the interpretation of the statistical output, it
was found that, majority of the respondents preferred consuming organic foods,
on a daily basis, but few important factors, such as availability,
accessibility and lack of promotion of organic foods, along with other factors,
have made the consumption, very limited. This paper tries to present the
factors influencing consumer perception towards consumption of organic foods
and understanding the factors limiting their consumption. The paper also has
some suggestions to improve consumption of organic food products.

Key words: Consumer Perception, Empirical Study, India, Organic Food,

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Organic
food is food produced by methods that comply with the standards
of organic farming. Basically organic farming
in general terms means the farming practices that have been adopted by the
farmer, without using any chemical or artificial sources of nutrients or crop
protection methods. The produce obtained from such a practice is termed as organic
foods.

The term ‘organic farming’
was coined in  1939, by  Lord Northbourne  in his book Look
to the Land (1940), out of his conception of “the farm as
organism,” to describe a holistic, ecologically balanced approach to
farming—in contrast to what he called chemical farming, which
relied on “imported fertility” and “cannot be self-sufficient
nor an organic whole.”

Consumers today have
developed a close affinity towards organic foods, due to increased awareness
among them towards leading a healthy life style. With increased incidence of
various fatal and non-fatal diseases day by day, globally, the consumer
awareness towards avoidance of such diseases, by maintain a healthy diet, has
made the emergence of a wider market, towards organic foods, in the world food
market

The increased belief that
organic foods are safer for consumption with high nutritional value and better
taste compared to the conventionally grown food products, have become the
important reason for the consumers to go for a purchase of organic food
products. These properties of organic food products have also made the organic
food industries to promote their products. The emergence of many organic
certification agencies, have made it easier for the related industries as well
as the consumers to gain assurance on the organic food products for consumption.

India stands along with Argentina, Brazil,
China and Uruguay, for having the largest area under organic cultivation
(Willer and Kilcher, 2009). India’s ranks 15 in
terms of World’s Organic Agricultural land (FIBL & IFOAM Year Book 2015).
The total area under organic certification is 5.71million Hectare (2015-16). India produced
around 1.35 million MT (2015-16)
of all varieties of  certified organic food products. Madhya Pradesh has covered largest area under
followed by Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. (FIBL & IFOAM Year Book 2015)

 

Though India has witnessed an increasing
trend towards consumption of organic food products in the recent days, but rate
of consumption and shift towards the organic foods in not seen to the expected
levels. Though there’s an increase in awareness among the Indian consumers in
general and urban consumers in particular, there are still few factors that are
hampering the consumers from adopting organic foods to a bigger extent in their
daily diet.

 

REWIEW OF LITERATURE

Jerome Dumortier et
al. (2017), in
his study , The results of the bivariate ordered probit and cluster analyses
have important marketing implications. First, age and income are important  socio demographics. Younger and wealthier households
are more likely to purchase organic food. Marketing strategies may be more
effective in targeting these audiences.

Zanoli and Naspetti
(2002) he
investigated that lower prices and better distribution would help for better
demand for organic products  and at the
same time potential  organic
consumers  need good taste as well as
easy to use products. Better packaging and organoleptic quality standards have
a better target for organic farmers and processors.

Scalco et al. (2017)in his work reviewed perceived
behavioral relation and actual purchase and consumption of organic food
products  while understanding the
psychological motivation behind consumer intension to purchasing of organic
food products. As per the study is more focused on to purchase and consume
generic sustainable food products.

Arvola et al. (2007) according to study provides
moral dimensions in marketing of organic food as per his earlier findings  consumer awareness  about positive environmental implications of
organic farming.

Hasimu et al. (2016)  In his study highlights on Chinese  consumers think about organic  and study is helpful for marketing managers
who are interested on positioning of organic products in China .As per study
reveal about the consumer quality perception of organic related to the
health  and safety aspect.

 Sundqvist(2005) in  his study he apply a theory of  planned behavior(TPB) into organic food
buying context  i.e  dealt with moral decision making for buying
context based on the assumption that buying organic food is a moral decision
reflecting environmentally well being and indivusally well being.

Somnath Chakrabarti (2010) in  his study he mention about the   better positioning of organic food in India
among consumers by understanding the consumers attitude as per survey is being
conducted involving 33 seniors and food experts from industry. Health
motivation has the highest average rating and lowest standard deviations.

 

NEED
FOR STUDY:

Several studies have been conducted regarding
motivations for consumer towards organic food purchase and factors influencing
consumer buying process of organic food products, no studies have been
conducted to understand the factors that are preventing the consumers to shift
towards organic food consumption and to understand what are the consumer
expectations from the organic food market is. Thus an attempt has been made to
understand the underlying factors that are hampering the consumption of organic
food consumption and also get an insight to consumer expectations from the
organic food market.

 

OBJECTIVES
OF THE STUDY:

1. To understand the demographic profile of
consumers of organic food products.

2. To understand the various influencing
factors for the consumption of organic food products.

3. To find the factors that is hampering the
consumption of organic food products.

 

RESEARCH
METHODOLOGY;

The research was conducted by collecting
primary data from 60 respondents in Bangalore city, in at various public
gathering places, like public parks and restuarents. The data was collected in
the month of October 2017. During the data collection it was made sure that
enough time was given to the respondents to fill the questionnaire in the spot
and they were also guided well, while filling the questionnaire.

1.     
Instrument:
The respondents were selected under self discretion, and only respondents who
were above 18 years of age and had used organic food products at least once in
their life were chosen. 60 respondents were personally approached and asked to
fill the questionnaire on the spot. Appropriate guidance was given while
filling the questionnaire.

2.     
Analysis:
the data collected was analyzed
using SPSS analysis tool and statistical techniques of descriptive statistics
like charts, tables, standard deviation and mean were applied in the paper.
Likert scale was also used to for factor analysis. The likert scale choosen was
a 5 point scale, having the range from 5 to 1.(5-strongly agree, 4-slightly
agree, 3-agree, 4-slightly disagree, 5-strongly disagree).

 

RESULTS
AND DISCUSSSION:

The
results for demographic analysis showed that majority of the respondents were male
(77%), compared to females (23%), which is represented in Figure1. Most of the
respondents belonged to the age group of 18-35 (35%), followed by age group of
36-45 (23%) which is also represented in figure 2. It was found that a major
part of the respondents posed high levels of education, where 82% of the
respondents were post graduates and 22% were undergraduates (figure 3). Hence
it can be noted that the majority of the respondents were male, belonging to a
younger age group who are also highly educated.

 

The
data collected was used to know the current usage pattern of organic foods by
the respondents. For this, descriptive analysis was used and five variables
were considered namely, never used, rarely used, use sometimes, used more often
and frequently used. It was found that, 42% of the respondents sometimes used
organic foods, followed by 32% of the respondents, rarely using organic
products (figure 4). Hence it can be noted that much of the respondents are
using organic food products, and the market potential for organic food
products, do exist.

 

Through
the data collection, efforts were done to understand the reasons which are
hampering the use of organic food products, for the respondents. For this
analysis, a set of 10 variables were considered and analyzed using descriptive
analysis. After analysis it was found that, 47% of the respondents found it
difficult to find the organic food products in the market (figure 5). Hence it
can be noted here that, though there is a willingness among the respondents to
use organic food products, they are not able to access the products, due to
limited availability.

Through
the research, the data collected was analyzed to know the most influential
factor for the respondents to go for organic foods. For the analysis, 12 variables
were considered. Initially the data was analysed with respect to all the
respondents and later a comparative study and analysis was done, to understand
how the influencing factors vary with gender. For this initially, mean and
standard deviation were calculated to each of the variables and it was found
that, the variables healthy and environment friendly, both showed a mean of 4.0
(table 1). Hence it can be concluded that, the factors healthy and environment
friendly, were the most influential factors, for consumption of organic food
products.

 

Using
the same variables a cross tab analysis was done to know how the influencing
factors or the variables vary with gender. After analysis it was found that,
41% of the male respondents and 57% of the female population consumed organic
food products due to its good flavor (Table 2). Regarding the cost of organic
food products, 47% of the male population and 50% of the female population,
felt that the organic food products are expensive. With respect to ease of
obtaining the organic food products, 71% of the female respondents and 47% of
the male respondents felt that, organic food products are difficult to access
and they are not easily found in the market. Through the analysis it was also
found that 71% of the female respondents and 40% of the male respondents, felt
the attractiveness of organic food products is not distinctive from the
conventional foods, and hence they dodnot find any difference in appearance of
the product or packaging different and attractive from conventional foods. The
results also showed that 72% of the female respondents and 41% of male
respondents chose organic foods as they had low or no chemical residues.

Through
the response collected from respondents, efforts were made to understand the
future buying behavior of the respondents towards organic foods. The data
collected was put in a frequency distribution table and frequency along with
cumulative frequency was collected, considering five variables. From the results
it was found that 43% of the respondents intended to buy organic foods in the
future (table 3). This shows that a greater share of the population is willing
to buy organic foods in the future.

 

The
data collected was also used to know the most trust worthy source of
information about organic foods, the respondent will be considering. For this analysis
a set of 12 variables were considered and the mean and standard deviation for
calculated to each of the variable. It was found that the mean for university
researcher was 3.75 and for health professionals was 3.7 (table 4).  Hence it can be analyzed that the respondents
considered the university researcher and the health professionals as the most
trust worthy source of information about organic foods.

 

REFERENCES:

Jerome
Dumortier et al. (2017) .The Influence of Trust and Attitudes on the Purchase
Frequency of Organic Produce, Journal of International Food & Agribusiness
Marketing, 29:1, 46-69, DOI: 10.1080/08974438.2016.1266565

Zanoli
and Naspetti (2002).Consumer motivation in the purchase of organic food A
means-end approach. British Food Journal,Vol.104 No. 8,2002, pp.643-653,
DOI:10.1108/00070700210425930

Scalco
A et al. (2017)., Predicting organic food consumption: A meta-analytic
structural equation model based on the theory of planned behavior, Appetite
(2017), doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.02.007.

A.Arvola
et al. (2007) Predicting intentions to purchase organic food: The role of
affective and moral attitudes in the Theory of Planned Behaviour, Appetite 50
(2008) pp. 443-   454,doi:10.1016/j.appet.2007.09.010

V.
Aslihan Nasir and Fahri Karakaya(2014) Underlying Motivations of Organic Food
Purchase Intentions , Wiley Online Library, Agribusiness, Vol. 30 (3) pp.
304–306, DOI: 10.1002/agr.21363

Anssi
Tarkiainen Sanna Sundqvist, (2005),”Subjective norms, attitudes and
intentions of Finnish consumers in buying organic food”, British Food
Journal, Vol. 107 Iss 11 pp. 817 – 818 DOI:10.1108/00070700510629760

Somnath
Chakrabarti, (2010),”Factors influencing organic food purchase in India –
expert survey insights”, British Food Journal, Vol. 112 Iss 8 pp. 910 –
911 , DOI:10.1108/00070701011067497

Hasimu
H., Marchesini S. & Canavari M. (2016), A concept mapping study on organic
food consumers in Shanghai, China, Appetite (2016),pp.20-21, doi:
10.1016/j.appet.2016.09.019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIGURES:

 

77%

 

23%

 

      

Figure
1: Share of male and female respondents                    Figure 2: Different age group of respondents.

 

 

                                                                                 

Figure
3: Respondents education levels.                                 Figure
4: Current usage pattern of organic foods.

 

 

           

                        Figure 5: Factors preventing usage of
organic food products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLES:

 

 

Table
1: Most influential factor for consuming organic foods.

 

 

N

Minimum

Maximum

Mean

Std. Deviation

 

Ease to obtain

60

1.00

5.00

2.4500

.94645

 

Attractive appearence

60

1.00

5.00

3.0167

.83345

 

Limited selection

60

1.00

5.00

3.1333

1.21386

 

alternative lifestyle

60

1.00

5.00

3.1833

.89237

 

Freshness

60

1.00

5.00

3.4833

1.06551

 

Good flavour

60

1.00

5.00

3.6333

.95610

 

Expensive

60

1.00

5.00

3.7000

1.16880

 

vitamins and minerals

60

1.00

5.00

3.9167

1.33139

 

Low chemical residue

60

1.00

5.00

3.9167

1.41770

 

Healthy

60

1.00

5.00

4.0167

1.35911

 

Environmental friendly

60

1.00

5.00

4.0167

1.33393

 

Valid N (listwise)

60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table
2: Cross tabulation of gender and flavor of organic foods.

 

 

 

Good flavour

Total

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Neither agree nor
disagree

Agree

Strongly agree

Gender

Female

0

1

4

8

1

14

Male

1

6

11

19

9

46

Total

1

7

15

27

10

60

 

 

 

 

Table
3: Current usage of organic foods.

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

 

I never use organic foods

7

11.7

11.7

11.7

I rarely use organic foods

19

31.7

31.7

43.3

sometimes use organic
foods

25

41.7

41.7

85.0

I often use organic foods

9

15.0

15.0

100.0

Total

60

100.0

100.0

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Table 4: Respondents source of information about organic products.

 

N

Minimum

Maximum

Mean

Std. Deviation

University researcher

60

1.00

5.00

3.7500

1.24363

Health
professionals/Physicians

60

1.00

5.00

3.7000

1.21153

Family/Friends/Coleagues

60

1.00

5.00

3.4000

1.21013

NGO/NPO

60

1.00

5.00

3.3667

1.11942

Farmers group

60

1.00

5.00

3.3500

1.16190

Internet

60

1.00

5.00

3.2500

1.25718

Government

60

1.00

5.00

3.1667

1.20966

Third  party certifier

60

1.00

5.00

3.0667

1.02290

Newspapers

60

1.00

5.00

3.0333

1.13446

TV Radio

60

1.00

5.00

3.0000

1.10469

Retailer

60

1.00

5.00

2.8833

.95831

Valid N (listwise)

60