How important is local food to organic-minded consumers?Appetite 2016; 96:309-318A
The study deals with German consumers' attitudes towards organic food and local food, their food purchase behaviour and their personal characteristics. The purpose is to investigate the differences in attitudes and willingness-to-pay values between consumers who consider the organic production of food (very) important and those who consider it less important. This study combines a consumer survey with an in-store, discrete choice experiment. In the analysis, findings from the consumer survey were related to the choices made by consumers in the experiment. Consumers' preferences and willingness-to-pay values were estimated through random parameter logit modelling. Organic-minded consumers (i.e. those who regarded organic food production as (very) important in the survey) have stronger preferences and estimated willingness-to-pay values for organic as well as local products. Locally produced food, as opposed to food from neighbouring countries or non-EU countries, is preferred over organically produced food by both consumer groups which demonstrates that organic-minded consumers do not only consider organic food production as important, but also value local food production in a purchase situation. Hence, it can be assumed that local food production complements organic food production for the group of organic-minded consumers. This contribution is the first study dealing with local and organic food purchase behaviour in Germany that examines four different products and is carried out in rural as well as urban locations in four different regions. Due to the application of a choice experiment including no-choice options and binding purchase decisions, the results are expected to be closer to real purchase situations than results of direct questioning and choice experiments in online applications.