Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Organic Or Local Fruits and Vegetables?

Date:
September 4, 2009
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
The emerging trend toward healthier, fresher foods 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; 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?

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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chengyan Yue and Cindy Tong. Organic or Local? Investigating Consumer Preference for Fresh Produce Using a Choice Experiment with Real Economic Incentives. HortScience, 44: 366-371 (2009) [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Organic Or Local Fruits and Vegetables?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090903163951.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2009, September 4). Organic Or Local Fruits and Vegetables?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090903163951.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Organic Or Local Fruits and Vegetables?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090903163951.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins