Consumption of Organic Fruits and Vegetables in Chennai, India
India’s booming population and the high amount of pesticide produced and used in agriculture to meet the demands of the growing population, has led to the contamination of the air, water, and soil. Organic food products help to preserve land and water resources and have led to a steady increase in the organic food consumption in India, especially in the urban centres of the country. Although there has been a steady increase in the sale of organic food products in India, the growth is slow. The research on the consumption of organic food in the Indian domestic market is inadequate, and more information with regard to the preferences and motivation to purchase organic food is required. Food consumption is a daily activity in everybody’s life causing environmental impact and buying organic food products is one of the effective ways to improve the sustainability of food consumption. Organic fruits and vegetables have the highest demand in the organic food category and at present dominate the Indian domestic market. Previous research suggests that attributes, consequences and values influence people’s purchase decisions. Attributes are the inherent characteristic of a product, consequences are the benefits obtained from consuming the product, and values are principles and standards that guide behaviour. The motivation of Indian consumers to consume organic fruits and vegetables can be explored with the help of attributes, consequences, and values. Consumers organize product information in their memory at various levels of abstraction ranging from product attributes to personal values. The method that aids in understanding the cognitive structure of consumers is the Means-End Chain (MEC) approach. The means are the attributes, the ends are the values, and in between them are consequences. The MEC approach aids in understanding why consumers opt for certain products as it links the product attributes to their consequences and the consequences are in turn linked to values. The interview technique that assists in obtaining the information pertaining to attributes, consequences, and values is Laddering. Laddering techniques use a series of direct and indirect probes, which enable a consumer to think critically and bring out in-depth information that shows the associations between attributes, consequences, and values. An analysis of these laddering probes revealed the motivational aspect behind a purchase or the underlying reasons for a purchase. Organic was found to be a central attribute as organic enabled people to distinguish between organic and inorganic fruits and vegetables. Other attributes like chemical free, farming method, taste, fresh, nutrition, and quality were also found to be important. Health was found to be the main motivation to purchase organic fruits and vegetables.
Advisor: Wooliscroft, Ben; Ganglmair-Wooliscroft, Alexandra
Degree Name: Master of Commerce
Degree Discipline: Department of Marketing
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Sustainability; Organic; Fruits; Vegetables; Chennai; India; Laddering; attributes; consequences; values; Means End Chain
Research Type: Thesis