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International Journal of Marketing

and Human Resource


(IJMHRM), ISSN
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ISSN 0976 643X (Online), Volume 5, Issue 5, September October (2014), pp. 01-10 IAEME
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Volume 5, Issue 5, September October (2014), pp. 01-10
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CONSUMER ATTITUDE TOWARDS ORGANIC FOOD IN TRICHY


SOUTH INDIA
Mohamed Bilal Basha
Senior Lecturer,
Business School, Al Khawarizmi International University College, Abu Dhabi
K. Ramesh
Assistant Professor,
Rajalakshmi College of Education, Chennai, India

ABSTRACT
The study was based on the data collected from the selected supermarkets which are
selling organic food products in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India. Around 300 consumers
participated in the study and a questionnaire was administered with each of them separately.
The study examined consumers attitude toward purchasing organic food products based on
three variables namely health consciousness, environmental factors and safety considerations.
A survey questionnaire was developed to collect quantitative data from the consumers of the
study. The findings of the study indicate that health concern is the first motivation of organic
food consumers chosen for the study. The study also examined the impact of demographic
variables on the buying intention of consumers of organic food products.
Keywords: Organic Food, Attitude, Motivation, Health, Environment, Safety.
1.

INTRODUCTION

Organic foods industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the food industry in the
last decade. Organic food includes food products obtained from a farming system which
avoids using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, genetically modified organisms and

International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 6421 (Print),
ISSN 0976 643X (Online), Volume 5, Issue 5, September October (2014), pp. 01-10 IAEME

irradiation. The purpose of organic farming is to enhance the natural biological cycles and to
meet minimum animal welfare standards (Lockie et al., 2004).
Generally, farming system used for organic food production makes use of the benefits
of modern scientific methods and state of the art technologies to offer a more sustainable
solution to food production (Institute of Food Science and Technology, 2005).In order to
qualify a product into organic food, certain guidelines and restrictions are developed by
various private and government organizations from different countries. For example,
genetically-modified organisms and antibiotics are strictly prohibited in organic standards for
animal husbandry and only 30 additives are permitted in certain conditions (Soil Association,
2000).
The intention of consumers to purchase organic foods has been an interesting study
area and number of researchers has conducted several studies in understanding what
motivates people to purchase organic food products.
2.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

This literature review aims to provide a detailed account of literatures on the


consumer attitude towards organic food. In general the consumers believe that organic food
products are expensive. The survey by MORI(2003) has found that there is a strong opinion
among the public that sustainable products like organic food are often perceived as expensive
products.
A number of demographic variables are believed to influence the purchase decisions
of consumers using organic products. A study by Lockieet al. (2002) identified a strong
correlation between increasing consumption of organic food and levels of formal education.
A number of studies have consistently established the fact that gender has been a significant
predictor of the purchase behavior of organic food products. Female consumers are more
likely to purchase organic food products OFP compared to males (Groff et al., 1993, Buzby
& Skees 1994, Underhill & Figueroa 1996, Govindasamy & Italia 1999, Radman 2005). The
income level of the consumers is more likely to affect the purchase decisions of organic food
products. Cranfield and Magnusson (2003) noted that consumers with higher income levels
are more likely to spend more on organic food products. The reason could be that organic
food products are perceived as costlier than conventional products in general.
A number of similar studies have shown that regular consumers of organic food
product tend to be educated, affluent and of higher social class (Padel& Foster, 2005;
Stobelaaret al., 2006). Similarly, studies by McIntosh et al. (1994) and Torjusenet al.(2001)
have analyzed the awareness of consumers about food hazards. The result of the study
indicates that female consumers and individuals with more education and income possess
better awareness of food hazards and knowledge of food hazards.
A large number of studies are available in the literature which identified reasons for
purchasing of organic food products. In a study by Chinnici et al. (2002) and Harper and
Makatouni (2002) it was found that one of the most important reasons for purchasing organic
products has been the perceived health benefits of organic food products when compared to
conventional food products. In another study by Cranfield and Magnusson (2003), it was
reported that because of health-related reasons, older individuals were willing to deviate and
switch to organic food products. Cranfield and Magnusson (2003) observed that those
younger consumers are more willing to pay over 6% in their food products to ensure food
products are pesticide free. Govindasamy and Italia (1999) have made an interesting
observation that older consumers are highly hesitant and are more conservative in trying out
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International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 6421 (Print),
ISSN 0976 643X (Online), Volume 5, Issue 5, September October (2014), pp. 01-10 IAEME

new food products when compared with younger people who are open to new products and
ideas.
A study by Vermeir and Verbeke (2004), have proved that consumers weigh up health
benefits of organic food products on a higher scale than its environmental benefits or benefit
to the community in their decision to purchase organic food products.According to Grunert
and Juhl (1995), if a customer concerns for the environment then he/she knows that the
production, distribution, disposal and use of products result in external costs, and sees such
costs negatively and tries to reduce them as much as possible through his/her personal
actions.
Werner and Alvensleben (2011) stated that there is a relationship between the quantity
of consumers concern for the environment and their motivation to buy products that are
organic. Huamg (1996) noted that there is a strong relation between the growth in organic
product consumption and the growth in environmental concern in the public.
3. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF THE STUDY
According to the Theory of reasoned action(Ajzen, 1980), intention is considered as
the best predictor of actual behavior because it is the desired behavior of the consumer. In
addition, attitude towards behavior is regarded as a solid influence on intention. Attitude
contains all of the consumers belief about the behavior and the following consequences of
the behavior. Attitude determines final decisions in the consumers buying behavior. Hence
based on the importance of attitude in consumer buying decisions, a conceptual framework is
evolved. The proposed framework believes that the consumer attitude towards purchasing
organic food products is strongly influenced by three variables namely Health Consciousness,
Environmental Factors and Safety Considerations. The proposed model for purchase
intentions of organic food products is shown in Figure 1.
3.1. Health Consciousness
A Health consciousness consumer intends to purchase organic food products based on
the perceived belief that organic food products have better health benefits.
3.2. Environmental Factors
An Environmental factors concerned consumer intends to purchase organic food
products based on the perceived belief that organic food products can offer benefits to the
environment in many ways.
3.3. Safety Considerations
A consumer who considers safety first, intends to purchase organic food products
based on the perceived belief that organic food products can improve the safety factors in
food consumption.

International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 6421 (Print),
ISSN 0976 643X (Online), Volume 5, Issue 5, September October (2014), pp. 01-10 IAEME

Health
Consciousness

Environmental
Factors

Attitude

Purchase
Intention

Safety
Considerations
Figure 1: Proposed model for purchase intentions of organic food products

4. METHODOLOGY
Organic products are not in widespread consumption in Tamil Nadu, and its market
share is mostly limited to urban and semi-urban regions. For the purpose of the study around
300 consumers of organic products from 5 organic outlets were randomly selected from
Trichy, Tamil Nadu. Their attitude towards purchasing organic food products based on the
three variables namely health consciousness, environmental factors and safety considerations
was studied. As a result of extensive review of related literature, a number of items were
identified that are believed to affect the consumers attitude towards purchasing organic food
products. Each variable was measured using five items.
A survey questionnaire was developed as a part of the study to collect quantitative
data about the consumers purchasing intention based on the variables identified. The
proposed questionnaire included three variables to measure the attitude of consumers namely
Health Consciousness, Environmental Factors and Safety Considerations. The study used
even numbered Liker scale with six options comprised of Strongly Disagree = 1, Disagree =
2, Slightly Disagree = 3, Slightly Agree = 4, Agree = 5, and Strongly Agree = 6. Evennumbered liker scales require the user to indicate at least a slight preference even if they feel
more or less neutral about a question. Thus even numbered scale measurably intensifies the
respondent's cognitive involvement in the survey and consequently leads to more valid
results.
6. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The data collected from the consumers of organic food products was analyzed using
statistical package software SPSS 21.0. The results are presented here in detail.
6.1. DEMOGRAPHIC DETAILS OF THE CONSUMERS
The demographic features of consumers were analyzed and the results are presented
in Table-1. The results indicate that about 45 % (N=135) of the consumers are males while
4

International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 6421 (Print),
ISSN 0976 643X (Online), Volume 5, Issue 5, September October (2014), pp. 01-10 IAEME

the rest of 55% (N=156) of the consumers of are females. The results also show that about
57% (N=171) of the consumers are married while 43 % (N=129) of the consumers are
unmarried. The analysis of the age of the consumers reveal that predominantly young people
prefers to purchase organic food products. Around 40.3% (N=121) of consumers belong to
below 25 years of age. Similarly 33 % (N=99) of consumers belong to 25 - 35 years of age.
Only 12.7% (N=38) of the consumers are from above 50 years of age group. The
educational qualification of the consumers indicate that 62.0% (N=186) of the consumers are
graduates while 24.3% (N=73) of the consumers are postgraduate degree holders. Only
13.7% (N=41) of the consumers are undergraduates. The reason for low undergraduates could
be that the samples were drawn from urban locality where most of the people are educated.
The salary level of the majority of the consumers are in the mid-range between Rs. 20001
40000 which constitutes 35.7% (N=107).
Table 1: Demographic Characteristics of the consumers
Particulars

Variable

Frequency Percentage

Male

135

45.0

Female

165

55.0

Below 25

121

40.3

25-35

99

33.0

35-50

42

14.0

Above 50

38

12.7

Married

171

57.0

Unmarried

129

43.0

Undergraduate

41

13.7

Graduate

186

62.0

Post Graduate

73

24.3

<20000

94

31.3

20001-40000

107

35.7

>400001

99

33.0

Gender

Age(Years)

Marital Status

Educational
Qualification

Monthly
Income(Rs.)

6.2. RELIABILITY OF THE INSTRUMENT


The reliability of the survey instrument was measured using reliability coefficient
Cronbach Alpha. The cronbach alpha values of the proposed scale were found to comfortably
well above the prescribed limits of the alpha value of 0.6. The alpha value for the variable
5

International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 6421 (Print),
ISSN 0976 643X (Online), Volume 5, Issue 5, September October (2014), pp. 01-10 IAEME

health consciousness was 0.791, while the alpha value for the variable environmental factors
was 0.823 and safety considerations has the alpha value of 0.733.
6.2.3. Descriptive Statistics
The descriptive statistics of the data collected from the consumers is shown in table 3.
It is evident results that the consumers perceived health consciousness (M=4.9, SD=0.65) on
a higher scale rating when compared to other two variables. The descriptive statistics also
reveal that environmental factors were not given significant importance by the consumers of
the study in their decisions to purchase organic food products.
Table 3: Descriptive Statistics
Variable

Mean

SD

Health consciousness

4.9

0.65

Environmental factors

3.7

0.86

Safety considerations

4.2

0.62

6.2.4. CORRELATION
The correlation among the variables was measured using Pearson correlation
coefficient. The values of the correlation coefficient and the level of significance are shown
in table 4. The results shows significant negative correlation (p=0.001) between health
consciousness and environmental factors. The possible reason for negative correlation could
be that the consumers of the study places more importance on health related reasons to
purchase organic foods than environmental related considerations. Positive correlation was
reported between health consciousness and safety considerations at 0.01 level.
Table 4: Bi-variate correlations among variables
Health
consciousness

Environmental
factors

Safetyconsiderations

Health consciousness

-0.236**

0.199**

Environmental factors

-.236**

0.025

Safety considerations

0.199**

0.025

Variable

* - Significant at 0.05 level, ** - Significant at 0.01 level


6.3. RESULTS OF MEAN COMPARISONS
Independent sample t-test was conducted to test the difference in mean rating between
male and female consumers in their attitude towards purchasing organic food products. The
results from the table show a marginal difference between male and female consumers for the
variables Health consciousness and Environmental factors. The t-test results are displayed in
table 5.

International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 6421 (Print),
ISSN 0976 643X (Online), Volume 5, Issue 5, September October (2014), pp. 01-10 IAEME

Table 5: t-test with gender as independent variable


Gender
Male

Female

(n=145)

(n=165)

Variable

t value

SD

SD

Health consciousness

4.7

0.63

4.9

0.70

2.4*

0.01

Environmental factors

3.9

0.79

3.6

0.91

3.1**

0.00

Safety considerations

4.2

0.57

4.3

0.66

0.7

0.47

* - Significant at 0.05 level, ** - Significant at 0.01 level


Independent sample t-test was conducted to test the difference in mean rating between
married and unmarried consumers in their attitude towards purchasing organic food products.
The results from the table shows a non-significant difference in the mean rating between
married and unmarried consumers and the t-test results are displayed in table 6.
Table 6: t-test with gender as independent variable
Marital Status
Married
(n=171)

Unmarried
(n=129)

SD

Health consciousness

4.9

0.67

5.0

0.63

1.52

0.13

Environmental factors

3.8

0.85

3.7

0.88

0.47

0.64

Safety considerations

4.2

0.59

4.3

0.66

1.56

0.12

Variable

t value

SD

One-way ANOVA was used to test the difference in mean rating between consumers
from different age group in their attitude towards purchasing organic food products. The
results from the table 7 showthat the difference in rating between consumers of various age
group are non-significant for all the variables.

International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 6421 (Print),
ISSN 0976 643X (Online), Volume 5, Issue 5, September October (2014), pp. 01-10 IAEME

Table 7: ANOVA results of the scale with Age Group as Independent Variable
Variable

Health
consciousness

Environmental
factors

Safety
considerations

Age Group

Mean

SD

<25

121

4.9

0.69

25-35

99

4.9

0.71

35-45

42

5.1

0.48

>45

38

4.9

0.52

<25

121

3.7

0.95

25-35

99

3.8

0.81

35-45

42

3.6

0.86

>45

38

3.7

0.70

<25

121

4.2

0.64

25-35

99

4.2

0.60

35-45

42

4.4

0.60

>45

38

4.4

0.63

Sig.

0.65

0.59

0.32

0.81

2.28

0.08

One-way ANOVA was used to test the difference in mean rating between consumers
from different income level in their attitude towards purchasing organic food products. The
results from the table 8 shows that a significant difference in rating of consumers for health
consciousness factor (p=0.01 level) while other groups reported no significant differences in
mean rating in the attitude towards organic food products.
Table 8 ANOVA results of the scale with Income as Independent Variable
Income
Variable
N
Mean
SD
F
Sig.
(Rs)
Health
consciousness

Environmental
factors

Safety
considerations

<20000

94

3.75

0.81

20001-40000

107

3.72

0.90

>400001

99

3.75

0.87

<20000

94

4.23

0.59

20001-40000

107

4.18

0.61

>400001

99

4.37

0.66

<20000

94

4.23

0.59

20001-40000

107

4.18

0.61

>400001

99

4.63

0.72

14.84**

0.00

0.05

0.95

2.60

0.08

International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 6421 (Print),
ISSN 0976 643X (Online), Volume 5, Issue 5, September October (2014), pp. 01-10 IAEME

7.

CONCLUSIONS

The awareness about organic food products is increasing among the people and their
intention to buy organic food is shaped by various beliefs. Their actual buying behavior is
direct result of strong intention and attitudinal values towards the benefits of the organic
products. An attempt has been made in this study to analyze what motivates consumers to
purchase organic food products. The scope of the study was delimited to understand the
impact of only three variables namely health consciousness, environmental factors and safety
considerations in the purchasing decisions of consumers buying organic food products. The
results of the study show that the sample of the study was more concerned with health and
safety factors in their decision to consume organic food products. However care should be
taken in drawing generalizations of the results of the study as the study was undertaken with
limited sample of consumers in a selected city. The study can be extended further by
considering more number of variables and larger sample sizes.
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ISSN 0976 643X (Online), Volume 5, Issue 5, September October (2014), pp. 01-10 IAEME

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