Dietary priorities and consumers’ views of the healthiness of organic food: purity or flexibility?

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Previous studies have shown that belief in the healthiness of organic food is a strong motive for buying organic. Typically, a positive relation between a nutritionally balanced diet (with respect to fruit, vegetables and meat) and organic consumption is also found. As market shares of organic food are much smaller than those of conventional food, consumers may face a trade-off between buying organic and choosing the nutritional composition they prefer. Using data from a survey of around 1300 Danish consumers, we found that almost all respondents believed that organic food contains fewer unwanted substances than non-organic food, and that around a third considered organic food to be nutritionally superior. Respondents with high organic consumption and who believe in the nutritious superiority of organic food products were more likely to belong to a small group of respondents who prioritized buying organic. However, the vast majority, particularly those with low levels of organic consumption, prioritized dietary flexibility over organic produce. Our findings suggest that to motivate those in this large consumer segment to increase their organic consumption, it will be necessary to offer a broader, more nutritionally differentiated, range of organic products.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganic Agriculture
Pages (from-to)163–175
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.

    Research areas

  • Dietary flexibility, Health characteristics, Organic consumption, Stated preferences

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