Providing insight into consumer attitudes towards organic produce

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Why the client needed the research
The Better Organic Business Links (BOBL) project, run by Organic Centre Wales, exists to support the development of organic supply chains in Wales. As part of its programme of market intelligence, BOBL wished to gain a deeper understanding of consumer opinion of organic produce and farming.

The research was required to understand the potential for positively influencing consumers’ attitudes towards organic produce and provide a basis for a communication and marketing campaign aimed at increasing sales across the organic sector.
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Our approach
The research was conducted in two phases. Phase 1 involved a review of existing information of consumer attitudes towards organic produce and was desk based. The findings from this review helped shape the information requirements for Phase 2 – an ad hoc survey of 1,400 principal or joint grocery shoppers across the UK.

Phase 2 data was collected via a short telephone survey which focused on understanding of organic produce, organic consumption, barriers and motivations to purchase and attitudes to organic produce. Multivariate data analysis techniques were used to produce a segmentation of the market based on attitudes.

The outcome
The findings demonstrated that a high proportion of consumers make organic purchases, with health, taste, fewer chemicals and animal welfare among the principal motivations. However, very few consumers are making organic purchases in every category they buy in and as such opportunity exists to increase purchasing frequency.

The attitudinal segmentation of shoppers revealed six clusters with four of these (organic advocates, organic environmentalists, price and conscious and no food concerns - representing in total c.70% of all shoppers) being deemed worthy targets of future communication strategies.

In addition to addressing price concerns and reinforcing current motivations, these strategies should also aim to link organic produce more closely with issues of ‘provenance’ and ‘locally produced’, found to be important to consumers.