2012 Cambridge Business & Economics Conference

ISBN : 9780974211428

The Impact of Environmental Advertisement, Health Consciousness and Personal Norm on Organic Food Consumption in Shanghai, China Bing Zhu
Department of Marketing Assumption University Thailand Email: bingzhu.mkt@gmail.com

ABSTRACT The consumption of organic food has risen due to consumers’ concerns over issues regarding the environmental problems, food safety and health. This study explores the effects of factors (environmental advertisements, health consciousness, and personal norms) on organic food consumption in Shanghai. The data was collected from 400 consumers at 4 Carrefour supermarkets in Shanghai who purchased organic food. All hypotheses were analyzed by SEM (structural equation model). The research outcomes revealed that organic food consumption was positively related with environmental advertisement (β=0.56 p<0.001), health consciousness (β=0.19, p<0.01), and personal norm (β=0.22, p<0.001). The results imply that environmental advertisement is the chief factor for consumers to purchase organic food, and it is the most effective tool to reach those consumers who are aware of environmental and health issues. Keywords- Organic food, Environmental Advertisement, Personal Norm, Health Consciousness Paper type- Research paper

INTRODUCTION With the development of technology and the improvement of living standard,, as well as an increase in environmental problems, Chinese consumers’ concern over food quality and usage of chemical residues has been accumulated (Sternfeld, 2009). Doubtless, Chinese people recently pay increasingly attention to what they have eaten every day. However, to a certain extent, the safety of the food products in the market is not really labeled by manufacturers. It is somewhat difficult for consumers to obtain sufficient knowledge of
June 27-28, 2012 Cambridge, UK


Sanders. Beijing. safety and legitimacy will be extended (Choi & Jesen. biological circulation and ecological harmony are able to be enhanced and improved(NOP). 1991). In other words. According to Kan (2010). In China. 2006. there is a big opportunity for June 27-28. income level is a key factor that determines the demand for environmental friendly products. Willer& Yussefi. there is a need to call for participation. 2003. Guangzhou. Therefore. It is interesting to note that the sales of organic food have soared by 50 percent due to the recent food scandals reported by public media (Baer. 2012 Cambridge. UK 2 . Chinese consumers in second-tier and third-tier cities have less interest in purchasing environmental friendly products than those in wealthier cities such as Shanghai. etc. Shanghai and Guangzhou at present are the major markets for organic food due to higher living standards. which has supervises the process of organic farming and production. organic food is perceived as a high-priced specialized food for a niche market in China. organic food is marketed as high quality and at a premium price.2009) Recently Chinese consumers concern more on environmental friendly products. and processed food that contain less than 95 percent but more than 75 percent organic ingredients are labeled as “manufactured with organic ingredients”(Sternfeld. As compared to conventional food. China has shown its significant growth through both production and consumption of organic products (Ip. . fertilizers or irradiation throughout the production and process (NOP) and also through organic farming. 2006). where the supermarkets such as Carrefour and Wal-Mart are major channels for the sales of organic food (Sternfeld. biodiversity. 1996). which implied that with a higher consumer awareness of food safety and environmental issue. through which the accessibility of food information in terms of quality. processes and even distribution (Casell & Mojduszka. products that contain more than 95 percent organic ingredients are labeled as “organic”. 2007). support and cooperation from both the government as well as the general public to build a qualified system to keep eying food detection and certification. The China Organic Food Certification Center (COFC) was established in 2002. 2009). Organic products are identified as products that do not contain any conventional pesticides. Therefore. Beijing.2012 Cambridge Business & Economics Conference ISBN : 9780974211428 food quality and safety due to asymmetric information on food production methods.

radio and print. However.2012 Cambridge Business & Economics Conference ISBN : 9780974211428 organic food industry to fill the gap through sustainable development. The government has strived to popularize environmental protection knowledge among Chinese people and raise their consciousnesses about environmental preservation and health issues in order to cultivate fine environmental ethics and codes of conduct. and they prefer purchasing organic foods at supermarkets. there is no specific empirical research about consumers’ purchase of organic food in China. 1997). production and process (Hutchins & Greenhalgh. (2009). Second. the researcher tends to investigate the impact of health consciousness on consumers’ purchase of organic food (Health Consciousness). As for Chinese market. as consumers’ awareness of health has increased. environmental advertisements are chosen by organizations that have a concern for the green June 27-28. Environmental Advertisement (Eads): As the general public is now more aware of environmental issues than before. LITERATURE REVIEW Organic Food Consumption (OC): The term “Organic” refers to the products that do not contain any fertilizer pesticide or other chemicals throughout the farming. UK 3 . and consumers believed that organic foods represent superior quality as compared to conventional foods. Affluent Chinese people are willing to pay premium price for the foods that contain natural ingredients. Third. 1997). The researcher focuses on traditional mass media such as television. the researcher aims to study how personal moral obligation influence consumers’ purchase of organic food (Personal Norm). organic food has been more available in the market than before. et al. In this study. From foreign perspective. organic foods were ranked 20 out of 108 product categories. mainly the researcher first studies the influence of media effects on consumers’ purchase of organic food through environmental advertising effects (Environmental Advertisement). According to Manget. Rahbar &Wahid (2011) conducted a research in Malaysia to study the impact of publicity on consumers’ perception and awareness of green products. consumers have generated understanding and knowledge of “organic” which has boosted the consumption in foreign countries (Hutchins & Greenhalgh. 2012 Cambridge.

which is associated with product attributes that are designed for environmental preservation. In other words. Magnusson et al. Stern. Pieniak et al. Baldwin (1993) found that environmental advertisement is an effective tool for consumers to convert their values and beliefs into actual purchase of green products. and to make the consumers be aware of the outcomes from their consumption habits (Rahbar &Wahid.. More importantly. Chinese people also realize that the biggest threat to their health is unhealthy lifestyle. Wander & Bugge. 2011). 1994. Dietz & Black.. Personal Norm (PN): A personal norm reflects people’s moral obligation which is a very influential factor for environmental buying behavior (Hopper & Nielson. 2003). 2002. The manufacturers and retailer will also foster a positive corporate image. Stern & Dietz. Health Consciousness (HC): At this moment. 1994. Grankvist & Biel. and maintaining a healthy diet is fast gaining support among young people. 1995. is perceived as a chief factor for the acquisition of organic food (Lockie et al.. Tanner & Kast (2003). The research June 27-28. 2007). 1997.2012 Cambridge Business & Economics Conference ISBN : 9780974211428 movement as an effective means to promote environmental-friendly products in the market. health has become a hot issue as Chinese people are aware of the negative impact of environment degradation. At the same time.. 1999). 2012 Cambridge. environmental advertising is able to strike a chord with audiences and customers who may be able to build up a firm sense of duty towards environment (Ong et al. (2008). 1986. consumers have generated a sense of obligation to recycle. Vining & Ebreo.. Health. 1991. Tregear et al. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK The modified research conceptual framework (Figure 1) was developed based on the previous studies of Rahbar& Wahi (2011). Based on the study of recycling consumerism (Ebreo et al. to a great extent.. Health concern more likely becomes a powerful motive for consumers to buy organic food (Davies et al.. and Ahmad et al (2010). moral demand can be perceived as a motive for consumers’ buying behavior towards environmental-friendly products. UK 4 . The purpose of launching an environmental advertisement campaign is to encourage consumers to purchase products that are environmentally-friendly. 2001). Eating organic food and green food stand for a healthy diet. 1992).

In addition. The researcher sequentially went through three processes to obtain the data. a structural equation model was employed. 4 branches out of a total of 19 Carrefour branches in Shanghai city were chosen. health consciousness. health consciousness and personal norm affect consumers’ consumption of organic food in Shanghai. through which the researcher used drawing technique in order to give every member of the population an equal chance to be selected in the sample (Zikmund. which are simple random sampling. Simple random sampling was applied by the researcher. the research intends to investigate the interrelationship among environmental advertisement. Hence. 2003). UK 5 . and overall fit June 27-28. and personal norm. quota sampling. which approximately accounts for 21 percent of the total number of branches. The Five-point Likert scale was also applied in a four-part questionnaire ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5) was applied. H1o: There is no relationship between environmental advertisement and consumers’ organic consumption H2o: There is no relationship between health consciousness and organic consumption H3o: There is no relationship between personal norm and organic consumption H4o: There is no relationship between environmental advertisement and personal norm H5o: There is no relationship between environmental advertisement and health consciousness RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 400 respondents who have bought organic food from 4 branches of Carrefour supermarkets in Shanghai participated in this research. 2012 Cambridge. In addition.2012 Cambridge Business & Economics Conference ISBN : 9780974211428 aims to identify how environmental advertisement. and convenience sampling. 100 respondents were assigned to each branch. Quota sampling was used to determine the number of respondents assigned to each Carrefour branch selected since the data was collected from 400 respondents in 4 branches. the researcher has developed a set of seven hypotheses to support this research. based on the conceptual framework and the objectives of this research. Convenience sampling was used for distributing questionnaires to the respondents who were available during opening hours in 4 Carrefour branches.

2 percent of the respondents have their monthly income between 3. In terms of educational level. all the null hypotheses are rejected. In addition.7 percent. Root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA). Overall fit statistics for seven factors indicated the model in this study provided an adequate fit to the data (p<0. Most of the respondents (49 percent) are in the age group of 31 to 35 years old.001 RenMinBi and 4. health consciousness and personal norms on organic food consumption in Shanghai. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSIONS As the issues of suitability and food safety have exploded into popular media in China in recent years.4. The hypotheses testing results shown in Table 2 support that all hypotheses are found at significant levels. Normed fit index (NFI).01). which indicates that there are significant relationships between variables (Figure 1). as the research applied SEM (Structural Equation Model) to test the hypotheses. 2012 Cambridge. 3. and Comparative fit index (CFI). and hypothesis 2 is statistically significant at. Therefore.001 level (p<. the results of overall fit statistics for seven factors and path analysis is shown on Table 1 and Table 2. UK 6 . 42. the highest percentage was bachelor’s degree with 47.2012 Cambridge Business & Economics Conference 2 ISBN : 9780974211428 of the model was indicated by Chi-square (x ).000 RenMinBi. RESEARCH FINDING The majority of respondents were males that account for 54. In addition. environmental advertisement is the chief factor to buy organic food products. Also.9 percent of the respondents are employed in private sector. For the consumers in Shanghai.9 percent. TUCKER-Lewis index (TLI). environmental June 27-28.5 are statistically significant at . Environmental advertisement positively influences consumers’ organic consumption as environmental advertisement is an effective tool that can arouse general public’s awareness of environmental problems. Moreover. in which hypotheses 1.01). Chase & Smith (1992). the main objective of the study was to explore the impact of environmental advertisements. Goodness-of-fit index (GFI).001). 40. Adjusted goodness-of-fit index (AGFI).01 level (p<. This finding corresponds with Baldwin (1993). China.

mostly they are influenced by the information exposed to the environmental advertisement rather than health consciousness. This finding is in line with Hopper and Nielson (1991). consumers’ buying decisions have been influenced. which can be interpreted that consumers in Shanghai contribute their efforts to environmental improvement and preservation by consuming more organic foods products. (1995). (2003). Ebreo (1999) and Tanner and Kast (2003). This finding is in line with Davies et al. Based on the message that environmental advertisement sends to the general public. Tregear et al. which reflects that moral thinking is involved in consumers’ purchase decisions in Shanghai. which means that environmental advertisements have instilled an awareness of environment preservation and health lifestyle to consumers’ daily lives. Vining and Ebreo (1992). Consumers have gradually converted their concerns over environment and health issues to the environmental buying actions. 2012 Cambridge. Stern et al. It can be interpreted that even though people pay attention to health more than before. Hypothesis 4.01 out of 5. When people make a buying decision regarding organic food. fertilize and chemical residues” gained a mean score of 4. The statement of “everybody has a responsibility to contribute to environmental preservation by buying food products that do not contain any conventional pesticides. the importance of health consciousness as a motive of organic food consumption in Shanghai is less than other factors that are environmental advertisement and personal norm. Health consciousness also positively influences consumers’ purchase of organic food. Wandel and Bugge (1997) and Magnisson et al. environmental advertisement has significant impact on personal norm and health consciousness. Stern and Dietz (1994). and Hypothesis 5: The products should be advertised with specific. Personal norm has a significant impact on consumers’ consumption of organic food in Shanghai.2012 Cambridge Business & Economics Conference ISBN : 9780974211428 advertisement can help consumers to form value and convert it into their purchase behavior by stressing powerful benefits of consuming environmental friendly products. IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Hypothesis 1. They have perceived buying environmental friendly products as an environmental responsible manner. detailed June 27-28. UK 7 . (1994). In addition. (1986).

so the most important thing for them before making buying decision is to check ingredients and production methods. In addition. marketers should stress products attributes which are “better for health” so that consumers can see benefits from consuming organic food products. The marketers and advertisers should truthfully give accurate information regarding to the production methods. the nutrition level and insightful recommendations regarding to healthy lifestyle should be stressed in order to improve consumers’ knowledge and understanding of organic food consumption. Moreover. For example. ingredients. 2012 Cambridge. how many percent of emissions will be reduced by consuming environmental-friendly products as compared to conventional products? What particular or real benefits will consumers get from consuming environmental-friendly products? Once consumers have a clear understanding about the impact of their consumption. hormone-free and glutenfree. product storage and delivery to eliminate consumers’ worries over the potentiality that the products may be polluted. Hypothesis 3: Moral consideration is a driving factor for Chinese consumers to buy organic food. consuming environmental-friendly products such as organic food will be perceived as a merit to the environmental improvement. Hypothesis 2: Chinese consumers keep eyes on food production due to the food scandals in recent years. the manufacturers. The marketers and advertisers should highlight the significant impact of environmental buying behavior on the environmental improvement as exhaustive as possible to activate consumers’ moral obligation. Many consumers try to purchase the products that are antibiotic-free. June 27-28. the consumption of organic food should be perceived as a contribution from the consumers. advertisers. In addition. For example. UK 8 . safety of food storage and delivery are other issues that the consumers pay an everincreasing attention to.2012 Cambridge Business & Economics Conference ISBN : 9780974211428 and transparent information. and the impact of purchasing recycle. energy efficient product or hazard-free products on development of low-carbon society and green environment should be emphasized.

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Table 1: Fit indices June 27-28. UK 12 . W. Ohio: South-Western.2012 Cambridge Business & Economics Conference ISBN : 9780974211428 th Zikmund. 2012 Cambridge. (2003). G. Business research methods (7 ed).

UK 13 .19 0..001) Figure 1: Modified conceptual framework OC H3 PN H2 H5 HC H4 H1 Eads June 27-28. 1998) ≥0.56 0.989 Table 2: Path analysis by Structural Equation Modeling Hypothesis H1: EA  OC H2:HC  OC H3:PN  OC H4: EA  PN H5:EA  HC Notes: *** p < 0.90(Gefen et al.01) Yes (P<.90 (Hu and Bentler. 2012 Cambridge... ** P<0.959 0.930 0.908 0.22 0. 1993) ≥0.954 0.01 β 0. 1998) ≤0.961 Measurement Model 1. 1998) ≥0.. 1999) ≥0.568 6.001) Yes (P<.237 0.08 (Hair et al.001) Yes (P<.940 0.747 p-value *** .90(Hair et al.44 0.40 t-value 8.056 0.029 0.2012 Cambridge Business & Economics Conference ISBN : 9780974211428 Fit Indices X2/df RMSEA GFI AGFI NFI TLI CFL Recommended Value ≤5.345 0.954 0.241 3.987 0.932 0. 2000) Structural Model 2. 1998) ≥0.361 7.90(Hair et al.00 (Hair et al.001.001** *** *** *** supported Yes (P<.80 (Segars and Grover.101 3..001) Yes (P<.

001) June 27-28.001) Reject (P<.01) Reject (P<.001) Reject (P<. UK 14 . 2012 Cambridge.2012 Cambridge Business & Economics Conference ISBN : 9780974211428 Hypothesis H1o: There is no relationship between environmental advertisement and organic consumption H2o: There is no relationship between health consciousness and concern and organic consumption H3o: There is no relationship between personal norm concern and consumers’ organic consumption H4o: There is no relationship between environmental advertisement and personal norm H5o: There is no relationship between environmental advertisement and health consciousness Results Reject (P<.001) Reject (P<.