Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Organic or local?

08.09.2009
The emerging trend toward healthier, fresher foods that are also gentle on the environment presents new dilemmas for conscientious consumers.

Marketers tout the attributes of "organic" food, while the "local foods movement" is gaining popularity throughout the world. The "organic-or-local" debate is particularly interesting when it comes to fruits and vegetables; proponents of each system offer strong evidence to support their cause.

Consumers frequent local farmers' markets because they expect higher quality, freshness and taste, and lower prices. Organically grown produce is considered to be healthy and environmentally friendly because of the use of less-damaging pesticides. But do consumers really understand the difference between "organic" and "local" produce? And what price are we willing to pay for these fresh, premium products? These questions present challenges for growers, retailers, and ultimately, savvy consumers.

Understanding consumer preferences and willingness to pay for organically grown and locally grown fresh produce helps producers and retailers determine what type of fresh produce to grow and sell, what to emphasize in marketing efforts, and what prices to charge. Intense competition from large-scale growers has forced small-scale farmers to find new niche markets for their commodities through value-added marketing. But information related to consumer preference and willingness to pay for both organically and locally grown fresh produce is sparse, presenting a fertile field for researchers.

Chengyan Yue, the Bachman Endowed Chair in Horticultural Marketing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and colleague Cindy Tong published the results of a research study in HortScience that investigated consumers' preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for organically grown and locally grown fresh produce. The research team combined hypothetical and nonhypothetical experiments for the study, which was conducted with 365 volunteer participants at the Minnesota State Fair in August 2008.

The researchers found that consumers' willingness to pay for organic produce was about the same as they would pay for local produce. But the frequency of purchases was different for organic and local produce. Participants were asked "When you buy fruits and vegetables, how often do you buy locally grown (or organically grown) fresh produce when it is available?''. For locally grown produce, 14% of participants chose "always", 40% chose "most times", 38% chose "sometimes", and 8% chose "seldom" or "never". For organic produce, 6% chose "always", 15% chose "most times", 39% chose "sometimes", and 40% chose "seldom" or "never".

Additionally, the team determined that consumers consider ''freshness'' and ''safe to eat'' as ''very important'' attributes when purchasing locally grown produce, and recommended that these attributes be stressed by local growers when promoting their products. Consumers considered ''good for health'' and ''safe to eat'' as their main reasons for purchasing organic produce, implying that these selling points be emphasized in promotional materials.

Yue explained that the study showed consumers' demographics affected their choice between organically grown and locally grown produce. For instance, older consumers were less likely than younger consumers to choose organic tomatoes, while females were more likely than males to purchase locally grown tomatoes.

Stated Yue, "Furthermore, we found that consumers patronized different retail venues to purchase fresh produce with different attributes. The results of this research are very important for small-scale farmers, market organizers, and sponsoring agencies in making their production and marketing decisions."

The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS Hortscience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/44/2/366

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application.

Michael W. Neff | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ashs.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht New rice fights off drought
04.04.2017 | RIKEN

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>