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British Food Journal

An analysis of factors affecting growth of organic food: Perception of consumers


in Delhi-NCR (India)
Richa Misra, Deepak Singh,
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Perception of consumers in Delhi-NCR (India)", British Food Journal, Vol. 118 Issue: 9, pp.2308-2325,
https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-02-2016-0080
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BFJ
118,9
An analysis of factors affecting
growth of organic food
Perception of consumers in
2308 Delhi-NCR (India)
Received 23 February 2016 Richa Misra and Deepak Singh
Accepted 20 May 2016 Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India
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Abstract
Purpose Food gives us essential nutrients to lead a healthy lifestyle but lately it has been found that
many food products have become hazardous due to contamination and lead to many diseases.
The rampant use of pesticides and chemical-based fertilizers in agriculture has, increased the
productivity but at the same time they have created an alarming situation for the environment.
The demand of the hour is to therefore to encourage organic farming and offer a better choice to
consumers as well as save the environment. The purpose of this paper is to explore and understand the
factors affecting perception of consumers on organic food products in Indian context.
Design/methodology/approach The study used a structured survey of 150 respondents covering
Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) of Ghaziabad, Noida and Faridabad (India). Exploratory
research was used to know the variables from the literature that affect the perception of consumers
regarding organic food. Descriptive research was used to understand the demographic profile of the
organic food consumers. Conclusive research design was used to test the hypotheses based upon the
motivating and inhibiting factor in the growth of organic food.
Findings The data collected from the survey were analyzed using t-test, 2 test, factor analysis and
multiple linear regression tests. Results indicated that the intention to purchase organic products was
impacted by the consumers belief on the safety and health aspect of the product, trust and
certification, information and availability and lifestyle and are hence drivers of growth. And certain
impeding factors were identified like doubt in the professed quality of organic food, lack of awareness
and price parity.
Social implications There are enough evidences of fertile land being converted into wasteland
because of use of agro- chemical-based fertilizers in farming. There are also enough incidents of
polluted water (ground and surface) due to agrochemical-based farming. Heavy use of pesticides leads
to adverse effect on the health of farmers also. There were many reports of farmers committing suicide
because of debt due to heavy investment on pesticides and fertilizers. Organic farming is a win-win
proposition for environment, farmers and consumers.
Originality/value The study was an effort to understand awareness and perception of organic food
consumers in urban India post-agriculture revolution. The result would help the organic food
producing and marketing companies to understand the factors that influence the belief of consumers
when they purchase organic food and henceforth they can formulate communication strategies and
marketing policy based on consumers expectations.
Keywords Perception, Demographics, Delhi-NCR, Drivers of organic food industry,
Impeding factors, Organic food products
Paper type Research paper

1. Introduction
Health and fitness aware society of today is more mindful of their food consumption
British Food Journal habits. Consumers food consumption patterns are shifting (Rezai et al., 2012).
Vol. 118 No. 9, 2016
pp. 2308-2325
Consumers have become more concerned about their food intake. They tend to prefer
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0007-070X
food that is balanced, healthy, safe and certainly friendly to the environment and
DOI 10.1108/BFJ-02-2016-0080 animals. Thus, demand of food free from chemicals is bound to increase with the
changing mindset. Organic food will be in demand across all segments of the society. Factors
India has lately picked up a healthy growth rate in the market of organic food products affecting
but it is still in its nascent stage. As per a report released, India Organic Food Market
Forecast & Opportunities, 2019, the revenues of organic food market are expected to
growth of
grow at a CAGR of around 25 percent during 2014-2019. organic food
The growing demand of food and the modern agriculture practices encourages the
use of fertilizers rich in chemicals that leads to increased crop production. The constant 2309
use of chemical fertilizers creates threat to environment and human health. Continuous
use of chemical fertilizers hardens the soil, makes it infertile and also leads to water
pollution (Rathore et al., 2014). There are adequate data of productive land being
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converted into wasteland because of chemical-based farming. There are also sufficient
incidents of polluted water (both ground and surface) due to chemical farming (Gomiero
et al., 2008). Considering the consumers point of view, as well as impetus on sustainable
agriculture it would be beneficial for farmers to switch over to organic farming to
maintain the fertility of the soil.
In a recent study (Rodale Institute, 2014) it was indicated that organic farming was
economical for farmers to grow than conventional farming. Organic farming requires a
higher labor cost that is counterbalanced by the savings of not buying fertilizer.
Further, the cost parity of the two is almost twice as indicated by earlier study. Organic
farming is significantly cheaper as compared to chemical farming and requires less
amount of water because of specific ways of farming (Crowder and Reganold, 2015).
Thus organic farming needs to be encouraged for both reasons human health as well
as to maintain the environment.

1.1 Green revolution and its impact


After gaining independence, India was facing a scarcity of food resources. The green
revolution in India was brought about in early 1960s in order to increase crop
production and meet the demands of the growing population (Pingali, 2012). The green
revolution aimed at self-sufficiency of food grains by focussing on improving and
introducing the following:
(1) high yielding variety seeds;
(2) irrigation facilities;
(3) fertilizers; and
(4) securing and assembling scattered land holdings.
The developing countries observed an unexpected crop productivity growth over the past
50 years; even with growing land scarceness and increasing land values. Even though
populations had increase more than twice, the yielding of cereal crops tripled during this
phase, with only a 30 percent increase in land area cultivated (www.learner.org).
Developing countries and lagging regions of emerging economies depends on agricultural
productivity as a fuel of growth and self-sufficient on food grains.

1.2 The slow poisoning in the state of Punjab


Punjab, the northern state of India, popularly called the food basket of India is known
for its hardworking farmers who have changed their agriculture land into goldmines.
They were pioneers in the country to have tested new seeds, invested in fertilizers and
pesticides, introducing modern mechanized farming techniques to develop the state
BFJ into the wheat bowl of India. At first, the state prospered, but the excessive use of
118,9 chemicals in fertilizers and pesticides slowly poisoned the land and the water bodies.
In many districts the water was so contaminated that the government had to declare
the water unfit for drinking. The chloride, uranium and other toxic elements content in
the water was found to alarmingly high (Bajwa et al., 2015) and affected the health of
many villagers. The villagers are therefore forced to drink the contaminated water as
2310 they have no other option. Many agricultural fields now lay barren or reduced
productivity not only due to the prolonged and excessive use of chemical fertilizers but
also due to the harmful use of pesticides. Reported only a few years back, in huge farms
in Punjab, the cotton crop was attacked by the American bollworm. As the crops were
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getting destroyed, the panicked farmers, misled by the pesticide dealers, used a huge
amount of pesticides. As against the general recommendation of only seven sprays for
the same crop by Punjab Agriculture University, the farmers used as many as
32 sprays (indiatogether.org, 2004). The result was land becoming unproductive due to
harmful effects of the pesticides. There were incidents of intoxication and passive
attacks of many diseases due to exposure from pesticides. To save their crops from
pests, the farmers invested a hefty amount on pesticides. Since the pesticides were
expensive, the troubled, uneducated farmers took loans to buy pesticides (often from
treacherous, exploiting money lenders who charge outrageous interests, furthering the
helpless, innocent farmers debt and leading to what is often known as the death trap),
as they had no other option. As the pesticides are required throughout the year, the
debt on the farmers increased. Due to their inability to pay back the debt and family
pressures, the hapless farmer often resorts to suicide. There have been numerous
incidents of farmers from Punjab committing suicides because they were not able to
free themselves from debt. Our natural resources get used up wastefully. This chance
of causing damage to our natural resources even grows bigger. Therefore, it is essential
that we increase crop production without harming our environment and disrupting the
balances maintaining it. The need arises to boost the fledging organic food market and
get rid of this treacherous cycle. It has been said that prevention is better than cure, the
Indian government along with the state and many non-government organizations are
promoting organic agriculture as a means to prevent further land pollution by
excessive use of chemicals (ncof.dacnet.nic.in). This method will result in the well-being
of the farmer and also sustainable agriculture. Since most of the studies have been
conducted in the advanced nations, there exists a need to understand the bouquet of
persuasive factors as well as inhibitors that affect the consumer preference for organic
food products in reference to Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR). Additionally, this
would substantiate the policy making for the government in regard to diverting the
excessive usage of chemical fertilizers in the states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh
and offer heavy incentives for organic farming to harness economies of scale.

1.3 Objectives of the study


(1) to examine the demographic characteristics of the respondents with respect to
their concern toward organic food products;
(2) to identify the factors that persuade (motivate) consumers/prospective
consumers to buy organic food products;
(3) to identify the factors that impedes the growth of organic food products; and
(4) to understand the perception of consumers toward organic food products.
2. Literature review Factors
There is a growing interest in organic food production throughout the world due to affecting
increasing concern about environment, safe food, human health, animal welfare and
the like. As per the directive suggested by Soil Association (www.soilassociation.org),
growth of
In organic farming practice synthetic (chemical) based fertilizer are prohibited and organic food
farmers increase the fertility of soil by using composite and natural manure.
Organic Foods, as described by Lockie (2006), are foods that are grown without using 2311
growth hormones, chemicals or artificial fertilizers. The fundamental objective of
organic farming is to maximize the well-being and productivity of inter-reliant areas
of land, life, trees, animals and people. A number of definitions emphasize on aspect
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defining biological or natural production systems (Klonsky and Tourte, 1998) and
green or environmental friendliness (Goldman and Hylton, 1972), while others stress
on restricted use of synthetic chemicals in organic production (Torjusen et al., 1999).
Organic farming has been practiced in India and China for more than 40 centuries
(ncof.dacnet.nic.in). In India, organic agriculture has been practiced by farmers for
varied rationale and depending on these the farmers were segregated into different
categories (National Project on Organic farming Department of Agriculture and
Cooperation, Govt. of India). The first category is the farmers that have no resources
to spend on chemical-based agriculture, thereby for them the only alternative is to
depend on natural manure-based fertilizers. The second category is the farmers who
have adopted organic agriculture in recent times in light of awareness related to the
harmful consequence on soil fertility by excessive use of chemical. The third
category is the enterprise and big farmers who have exploited organic farming as an
opportunity to grasp the urban market and gain maximum price. A perceived
opportunity will sensitize the farmers and boost the growing need of organic farming
thrust required at this stage in India across all categories defined. The Government
of India is also encouraging organic agriculture to increase sustainability. In a recent
budget session, Prime Minster Narendra Modi has endorsed that the state of Sikkim
has pledged to become first Indian fully organic state and stressed upon other states
also to adopt the same practice for national interest. In most of the metro and tier
I cities in India, demand of organic food is increasing rapidly. Number of retail
stores and number of brands of organic food products is increasing every year
(www.techsciresearch.com, 2013). However, the as per the psyche of average Indian
consumer, organic food is considered to be premium quality food and so it is
perceived much more expensive when compared to conventionally grown food.
Therefore the need arises to identify all possible factors including those that motivate
(persuasive factors) the consumers to buy the organic food products as well as those
factors that are perceived as constraints (inhibiting factors) in the upcoming organic
food product markets in India like Delhi-NCR.

2.1 Persuasive factors


A number of studies focussed on what motivates people to buy organic food.
There have been a lot of studies globally to identify factors that strongly guide the
consumers intention to purchase organic products including food products.
However, in Indian context the same needs to be established for developing
appropriate strategies for markets as well as policy making for the governments at
state and central level.
2.1.1 Perception of health and safety and friendliness to environment. Among the
organic consumer, most of the buyers assumed organic food to be better for health, and
BFJ good for environment when put side by side to conventional food (Ahmad and
118,9 Juhdi, 2010). The general belief of consumers regarding organic food products is that
they are free from pesticides, chemical fertilizers and residue-free safe products
(Huang, 1996; Jolly et al., 1998). Zygmont has found influence of factors like awareness,
motivation and willingness to pay as the determinants to purchase organic products.
The study done by Hutchins and Greenhalgh (1995) focussed on who buy organic food,
2312 among organic purchases health and children were the most critical indicators. Tregear
et al. (1994) conducted a research to investigate demand for organic foods by focussing
on consumer attitudes and motivations, product availability and retail options.
According to Davis et al. (1995) the purchase intention of organic food are
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environmental and health consciousness, safety and quality concern and product
specification such as nutritional value, taste, freshness and price. As per the (Greendex
Survey, 2014), majority of the consumer in the emerging economies like India and China
have scored significant more in concern to the environmental concern and moving to
organic produce as compared to the year 2012. The organic food products are deemed
to be safe from chemicals like synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones or
antibiotics and henceforth probable negative health effects have been termed as
motivators (Schifferstein and Ophuis, 1998; Misra et al., 1991). As per the study
conducted by Sangkumchaliang and Huang (2012) to understand consumers
perception toward organic produce in Northern Thailand, the finding specify that
the principal motive for buying organic produce were an anticipation of a healthy and
environment affable way of farming. Study by Gupta (2009) also indicates food free from
pesticides is the major factor in deciding purchase of organic produce like grains and
pulses. Consumers are getting more anxious with the intake of chemical fertilizers and
pesticides used in farming and as asserted by Crosby et al. (1981). Based on the previous
evidence that implies the positive relationship between consumers belief that organic
food product is safe and better for health, the following hypothesis is forwarded:
H1. The more people perceive organic produce to be safe and better for health,
higher is their intention to purchase organic products.
2.1.2 Demographic factors and purchase of organic food. As per the study done on
demographic aspects of organic product buyers (Thompson and Kidwell, 1998), gender
plays an important role in purchase of organic food. The study agrees it is mainly
women, who buy in larger quantity and more frequently than men. This is in reference
to the fact that the responsibility of grocery shopping is usually dominated by women.
Womens assume the prime responsibility as family food providers and take care of the
health of family members thereby gender impact both the potential and actual food
consumption practices on family, health and the environment (Lockie, 2006). Although
age does not play a significant indicator; however, the variable children in the family
plays an important role in purchasing organic food. Virtually all studies has observed a
relationship between education and purchase of organic produce, consumers with
higher university degrees were the most likely to purchase organic products (Dettmann
and Dimitri, 2010; Zepeda and Li, 2007). Based on the previous evidence that implies a
significant relationship between the demographic characteristics and intention to
purchase organic food product, the following hypotheses are forwarded:
H2. There is a significant relationship between gender and intention to purchase
organic food products.
H3. There is a significant relationship between age and intention to purchase Factors
organic food products. affecting
H4. There is a significant relationship between income and intention to purchase growth of
organic food products. organic food
2.1.3 Perception of organic food products as a status symbol or lifestyle products.
There have been growing studies toward consumer lifestyle and its influence on 2313
buying pattern. For some consumers organic products were a lifestyle as they can
afford it. Similar to other products, organic products was also used to correspond to
status symbol. As per Cinque (2009) organic food is not essential rather a way of life.
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Some previous researches (Hill and Lynchehaun, 2002) have suggested that because of
high media exposure and favorable public opinion, a few consumers perceive organic
food products to be fashionable and high status revealing due to higher price
associations. Hill and Lynchehaun (2002) suggest that some people now perceive
organic food to be a fashionable product because of considerable coverage in the media,
the recent promotional campaigns and the higher prices associated with organic food.
Based on the previous evidence that implies a significant relationship between the
consumers lifestyle and intention to purchase organic food product, the following
hypothesis is forwarded:
H5. There is a significant relationship between consumers influence to be a part of
affluent lifestyle and concern toward organic produce.

2.2 Inhibiting factors


There are again a plethora of studies indicative of factors that constraint the buying
behavior of the consumers for the organic food products. However, the same needs to
be established from the Indian context especially in the upcoming markets at metro and
tier I cities in India.
2.2.1 Perception of organic products as premium priced products. According to the
study done by Silverstone (1993) the most significant attributes that reverse the
positive attributes toward organic products are price and availability. The major
obstacle to the growth in organic produce may be, presently organic products have a
high-cost disparity as compared to conventional produce. Lockie et al. found that price
parity be liable to vary from one country to other country. In Austria and Germany the
premiums of organic produce vs traditional food typically range from 10 to 30 percent,
whereas in the USA and UK, the price parity can reach more than 100 percent. In India
organic produce claims 20-30 percent higher premium. (rediff.com). Many of the
consumer studies on barriers to growth in organic food sales focussed on unwillingness
to pay premium price, as well as effort and time associated with purchasing organic
products. A nationwide survey in UK revealed a new and evolving customer most
willing to purchase organic food if the price parity is low. Based on the previous
evidence that implies a significant relationship between the price of the organic food
products and intention to purchase, the following hypothesis is forwarded:
H6. There is a significant relationship between price of organic produce and intent
to purchase organic food products.
From the suppliers (farmers and intermediaries) side of view, however, as pointed by
Lockie et al. who put forward that one of the motivation for the growth of the organic
BFJ sector has been the potentially higher margins and subsequently more promotion of the
118,9 organic products by the retailers.
2.2.2 Availability of information related to organic products. Another critical barrier
for the slow growth on purchasing of organic food is lack of information and its
absence in local or most frequently visited shops. Potential organic consumers
demands better tasting products in addition to easy-to-use products which are long
2314 lasting. Consumers also want to be more informed. Their decision is based on more
knowledge provided to them. The initial point could be labeling and certification but
they also reflected on knowing organic farming and processing, and the way it is
different from conventional approach. Organic market is growing but there has been
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periodic lack of organic products due to the inability to deliver sufficient products.
Though many NGOs in India are encouraging farmers toward organic farming and
number of stores selling organic products are increasing. There are frequent instances
when consumers do not get what they want and are forced to buy non-organic food.
Hughner et al. (2007) identified perceived lack of availability of organic food and
inconvenience associated with the purchase process as one of the main barriers to
organic food purchase. Padel and Foster (2005) found similar results in a UK sample
and concluded that people reacted negatively to limited choice options (compared to
conventional alternatives) and higher effort that needs to be put into buying organic
food. In India mostly conventional food are available with local retailers, and the
organic variety is only available in organized store. Moreover consumers are also not
sure about the authenticity of the organic food if it is made available with local store.
Indian organic food market is expected to grow at a remarkable CAGR of
approximately 19 percent during 2012-2017. The major market of organic food in
India lies in tier I cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Gurgaon and
Pune. Due to increased awareness companies are experiencing an increase in sales
and increasing demand from metro cities. There are several new players in the
organic food market offering an online/offline channel for purchase. The leading
companies in Indian organic food market are Conscious Foods, Sresta, Eco Farms,
Organic India, Navdanya and Morarka Organic Foods. Organic food typically charge
up to 20-30 percent higher rate than conventional food items. This is one of the major
test in Indian market as most of the consumers are relatively price susceptible.
The opportunity lies in growing health awareness and increasing disposable
earnings among Indians (India Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities,
2017). Based on the previous evidence that implies a significant relationship between
the availability of the organic product and intention to purchase, the following
hypothesis is forwarded:
H7. There is a significant relationship between the availability of organic products
and intention to purchase organic food products.
2.2.3 Trust in labeling and certifications of organic food products. A good portion of the
existing literature (Caswell and Padberg, 1992; McCluskey, 2000; Giannakas, 2002)
indicates that there is overwhelming influence of third-party certifications, verifiability
rules and liability regimes to cope up with the challenges of intangibility component.
This would not only resolve credence goods issue but also expand the organic food
market. Based on the findings of a research, the motivation of consumers to purchase
organic food may be more effective if the companies attempt to increase trust in organic
food certification system and enhance knowledge of official organic food labels.
The same can be a strong deterrent if the consumers are unsure of or disbelieve the Factors
certification system of the land. Available researches (Giannakas, 2002) have affecting
consistently opined that there exists a strong need to have third party certifications to
overcome the supply side challenges to market organic food as it signals the nature of
growth of
the organic food and distinct from the conventional ones. Further the researches organic food
(McCluskey, 2000; Golan et al., 2001) point that producers of goods with high credence
will favor certifications by a third party wherein the benefits of regulations will exceed 2315
the costs of acquiring it. Based on the previous evidence that implies a significant
relationship between the trust factor and intention to purchase organic food product,
the following hypothesis is forwarded:
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H8. Distrust of organic labeling and certification, act as a barrier to organic food
growth.

3. Research design
3.1 Sample for the study and the measurement instrument
A convenient sample of 150 respondents was personally administered during mall
intercept at different locations of Delhi-NCR using structured questionnaire to
understand their awareness and perception of organic food. The respondents were
requested to fill up the questionnaire and to return it back instantly to the researcher.
The theoretical framework has been adapted from Aryal et al., (2009) which underlines
on consumer perception toward food products. Consumers decide whether to buy a
product or not, based on attributes like awareness and knowledge of the product,
availability of the product and its marketing promotion. Knowledge about the
product is affected by information made available to consumers. This together with
the product-related benefits builds in product attitude which in turn influences the
consumers willingness to pay for the products. Packaging, labeling and certification
has critical role in knowledge enhancement and developing preferences. The first part
of the questionnaire contains items on awareness, usage and pricing of organic food.
The second part of the questionnaire contains items on the attributes that measure the
perception of the consumer toward organic food. The third part of the questionnaire
contains background details about the respondent. Pilot study was undertaken on
a small cross-section of 25 samples to ensure the correctness of the questionnaire,
language and acceptability among the respondents.

3.2 Data analysis


Data were analyzed using descriptive statistic and inferential statistics together with
frequency distribution, percentage, mean score, independent sample t-test and factor
analysis and regression test using SPSS 16.

4. Results and discussion


4.1 Demographic characteristics of respondents
The sample size used in the present study was 150 out of which majorly were
males (61 percent) and about 39 percent were females. Around 57 percent of the
respondents were married while 43 percent of them were unmarried. Most of
the respondents (72 percent) were in the age category of 18-40 years; 55 percent of the
respondents have no children while 45 percent of the respondents have children.
A small number (17 percent) of the respondents were on diet.
BFJ 4.2 Level of concern for the food consumed
118,9 Table I indicates the respondents concern on whether the food is organic or
conventional. Approximately 70 percent of the respondents do care when they make
their grocery purchase, though the level may differ from average to very high. The
mean value of the respondent for the variable was 3.18 that are more than average.

2316 4.3 Preference of organic food


Table II indicates how often the respondents go for organic food purchase with respect
to conventional one. Around 33 percent respondents prefer and buy organic products
frequently. The mean value was 2.96, which imply the respondent buys organic
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produce more than half of the times when they make their grocery purchase. Large
portions of around 40 percent respondents still are rare consumers of organic food.

4.4 Awareness about organic products


Table III indicates that about 30 percent of respondents are fairly to well-informed and
they are concerned about the harmful effect of chemicals to human health and
environment. In all, 36 percent respondent said they have little or lesser information
about organic products and their benefits.

4.5 Price perception about organic products


One of the major inhibiting determinants in the growth of organic products is the price
parity between organic products and conventional products. Table IV indicates

Concern Frequency Percent Cumulative percent


Table I. Very little 12 8.0 8.0
Concern of the A little 32 21.3 29.3
respondent whether Average 47 31.3 60.7
the food is organic Much 37 24.7 85.3
or conventional Very much 22 14.7 100.0

Preference Frequency Percent Cumulative percent

Very rarely 13 8.7 8.7


Table II. Rarely 50 33.3 42.0
Preference of organic About half of the times 37 24.7 66.7
food instead of Often 31 20.7 87.3
conventional one Very often 19 12.7 100.0

Awareness Frequency Percent Cumulative percent

Very little informed 15 10 10


Table III. Little informed 39 26 36
Respondent Average 53 35.3 71.3
awareness about Fairly informed 32 21.3 92.7
organic products Very well informed 11 7.3 100
approximately 58 percent respondent believes organic product sold were expensive in Factors
India and calls for a price revision from the producers and major companies. Only 38 affecting
percent respondent believes the organic product as fairly priced.
growth of
4.6 Willingness to pay extra price for organic food products organic food
Table V indicates that the consumers are willing to pay extra on organic products but within
a close margin. Approximately half (51 percent) of the respondents were willing to spend 2317
close to 10 percent extra on organic products when compared to conventional food products.
Just about 13 percent consumers are willing to bear price parity more than 50 percent.
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4.7 Demographic characteristics (gender) on concern for organic products


The result in the Table VI shows that there is a significant difference between gender
and concern of organic products. The concern for female consumer is higher
(mean 3.47 and SD 1.13) as compared to male consumer (mean 2.99 and
SD 1.13). This is an important implication as in most of the Indian families females
are the decision makers when it comes to grocery shopping.

4.8 Demographic characteristics (age and income) on concern for organic products
Table VII indicates a significant relationship between age and concern of organic food
produce. The respondents in the age category of 29-39 were most sensitive to purchase of
organic food produce. The same table indicates no significant relationship between
income level and concern of organic food produce; however, the respondent in the income
level category (2L-3L) indicated highest mean value (3.59) which implies that there exists
highest concern in the particular income level. The mean value also indicates with
growing income concern for organic produce is increasing though it is not significant.

Price Frequency Percent Cumulative percent

Very expensive 17 11.3 11.3 Table IV.


Expensive 70 46.7 58.0 Respondent
Fair price 57 38.0 96.0 perception about
Cheap 05 3.3 99.3 organic products
Very cheap 01 0.7 100.0 price in India

Price (percent) Frequency Percent Cumulative percent

0 13 8.7 8.7 Table V.


01-10 more 77 51.3 60.0 Respondent
11-50 more 40 26.7 86.7 willingness to pay
51-100 more 19 12.7 99.3 extra price for
More than 100 1 0.7 100.0 organic food products

Gender n Mean SD t-value p-value Table VI.


Consumer concern of
Male 92 2.99 1.13 2.534 0.01 organic produce
Female 57 3.47 1.13 across demographics
BFJ 4.9 Factor analysis for factors affecting perception toward organic food products
118,9 Perception plays an important role in knowing the potential consumers attitude and
behaviors toward organic food. For the same, consumers were asked to state their
agreement and disagreement on five-point Likert scale (strongly disagree-1,
disagree-2, neutral-3, agree-4, strongly agree-5) on a set of statements related to
various aspects of organic food. Further exploratory factor analysis were conducted
2318 using the 33 variables with Varimax as a rotation method and eigenvalue greater
than 1 as a cut off point for the number of factors extracted . The result
indicates KMO statistics was 0.794 and Barletts test of sphericity is significant,
which indicates appropriateness of extracted variable for factor analysis.
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The analysis eventually resulted in the selection of five factors. The factors
explained a total of 50 percent of the total variance explained by the model.
The rotated component matrix was used, using 0.5 as cut-off point for factor loading
for naming the factors (Table VIII).

4.10 Reliability analysis of factors


Based on the result there were five predictors of perception of organic food products
(Table IX):
(1) factor 1 (impeding factors) explains the variables responsible for inhibiting
the growth of organic produce in India like price, quality, lack of
awareness;
(2) factor 2 (health and environment)explains the beneficial attributes of organic
produce in terms of health and environment concern;
(3) factor 3 (information and availability) explains the variable that accelerates the
growth of organic produce in terms of advertisement and availability;
(4) factor 4 (trust and certification) explains the variable that reemphasize the
importance of certification and labeling while motivating the purchase of
organic products; and
(5) factor 5 (lifestyle) explains status and lifestyle as determinants on the purchase
of organic products.

Variable Very little A little Average Much Very much 2 Sig. value

Age
18-28 1 10 15 19 5
29-39 3 15 19 14 7 26.2 0.05 (S)
40-50 5 4 6 3 8
51-60 1 4 3 3 1
W60 1 0 2 0 1
Table VII.
Relationship between Income
concern for organic Upto 50,000 1 3 6 5 0
food consumption 50,000-1 L 5 9 16 18 6 15.44 0.514 (ns)
and demographic 1L-2L 4 10 12 4 6
variables (age 2L-3L 0 4 4 4 5
and income) W3L 1 7 8 7 5
Factor Variance
Factors
Factor loading Eigenvalue explained affecting
F1-impeding factors 6.360 14.535
growth of
Organic food will not be not be able to get success in India 0.683 organic food
I have doubts in buying organic food 0.702
I just want to try organic food once and then decide whether to
buy or not 0.506 2319
I do not trust the credentials of the organic foods 0.711
Not sure about the benefits 0.685
They are just a fad 0.739
It is not relevant to me 0.739
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Quality is just as good as non-organic 0.683


Organic food are costly hence I avoid buying everything which
is organic 0.669
F2-health and environment 5.904 13.868
Organic food is good for health 0.779
Organic foods are safe for children so I want to buy them 0.837
Consumption of organic food on regular basis leads to good health 0.851
Organic food will increase my immunity and help me fight diseases 0.800
Organic products are environment friendly 0.739
Organic products are safe to consume 0.603
I trust organic food 0.455
Organic food is high in quality 0.456
F3-information and availability 2.342 9.656
I may buy organic food because of advertisements 0.666
Organic food labeling and information brochure gives me a feeling
of trust 0.488
I buy organic food because it is available in shopping malls 0.753
I buy organic food because the outlet is located close to my house 0.772
Signages and indicators of organic food counters in shopping mall
influence my purchase decision 0.742
F4-trust and certification 1.568 6.082
I do not mind travelling distance to avail organic food 0.725
Certificate is required for production of organic food 0.569 Table VIII.
Information of organic food can influence my purchase intention 0.473 Factor analysis
F5-lifestyle 1.474 5.856 result: perception
Organic food is associated with affluent lifestyle 0.744 toward organic
Organic food is associated with status 0.624 food products

Factor Item number Mean value Cronbachs value

F1-impeding factors 9 28.9 0.871


F2-health and environment 8 33.14 0.878
F3-information and availability 5 15.8 0.767 Table IX.
F4-trust and certification 3 10.5 0.601 Reliability analysis
F5-lifestyle 2 6.5 0.615 of factors extracted

4.11 Multiple linear regression analysis


Multiple linear regression tests using standard regression method was consequently
conducted to uncover which predictors could explain the concern to purchase organic
food products as per the level of importance.
BFJ Based on the results, the regression model with five predictors of concern to buy
118,9 organic food belief on the friendliness to the environment and health, information and
availability, trust and certification, lifestyle and impeding factors have worked well in
explaining the variation in intention to purchase organic products (F 7.233; df 5;
p 0.000). From Table XI, perception on organic product to be healthy and
environment friendly exert significant positive influence on concern to purchase
2320 organic products (t 2.467; p 0.015; 0.053). Similar effect was also found in the
other factor; trust and certification. The relationship of the variable to concern
to purchase organic products was positive and significant (t 3.597; p 0.000;
0.184). The proportion of explained variance as measured by R2 for the
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regression is 22.9 percent as depicted in Table X. The other factors were not found to
be significantly related to intention to purchase organic products. Impeding factors
and lifestyle were negatively related to concern to purchase organic food products
(Tables XI-XII).

5. Social implications
Indias tryst with the green revolution has produced a mix results. While post 1950s,
the modern techniques and inputs used for agriculture contributed significantly in
raising the productivity of land resources, offered more variety, quantity which
reflected positive in choices and convenience to the consumers. However, soon the cost

Model R R2 Adjusted R2 SE of the estimate


Table X.
Model summary 1 0.479 0.229 0.203 1.03

Model Sum of squares df Mean square R Sig.

1 Regression 41.301 5 8.260 7.233 0.000a


Residual 164.459 144 1.142
Total 205.760 149
Table XI. Notes: apredictors: (constant), life style, impeding factor, health and environment, availability, trust
ANOVA and certification

Unstandardized
coefficients Standardized coefficients
Model B SE t Sig.

1 (Constant) 0.059 0.796 0.074 0.941


Impeding factor 0.018 0.014 0.112 1.324 0.188
Health and environment 0.053 0.021 0.210 2.467 0.015
Information and availability 0.032 0.026 0.116 1.245 0.215
Table XII. Trust and certification 0.184 0.051 0.339 3.597 0.000
Coefficients Lifestyle 0.098 0.058 0.156 1.692 0.093
rose alarmingly high compared to the benefits delivered. The productivity growth rate Factors
could not be maintained but various ill-effects were glaring on the agricultural output. affecting
The farmer, their families fell prey to various life style diseases that cropped up due to
various types of contaminants and adulterants. The organic food products can reverse
growth of
this trend and bring healthy food to the society. organic food
There are enough evidences of fertile land being converted into wasteland because
of use of agro- chemical-based fertilizers in farming. There are also enough incidents of 2321
polluted water (ground and surface) due to agrochemical-based farming. Heavy use of
pesticides leads to adverse effect on the health of farmers also. There were many
reports of farmers committing suicide because of debt due to heavy investment on
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pesticides and fertilizers. Organic farming is a win-win proposition for environment,


farmers and consumers.

6. Managerial implications and conclusions


In India especially in urban cities people are aware about the benefit of organic
products and harm caused by pesticides to the soil and the environment. Against the
backdrop of harmful effect of chemical pesticides and fertilizers on farmers and the
people consuming them Indian government is strongly promoting organic farming.
Fairly large number of respondents stated high state of concern for the food they
consume. This is a positive indication for the marketers and producers of organic food
products. The market is in take-off mode and the right mix of strategies can pull in
more consumers and increase their in-take of the organic food products.
The consumers in the metro cities like Delhi-NCR still buy largely the conventional
food rather than organic ones and there is just one section of consumers whose
frequency basket for organic foods is more than half of the total food consumed. This
should be taken as a big market opportunity which is concerned about the food they
consume but is restrained because of some impeding factors that need to be clearly
defined and steps taken to facilitate the consumption of organic food in a big way.
Further as revealed in the survey, there is a vast majority that has little or no relevant
information about organic products and their benefits. However, a good portion of
respondents (close to 30 percent) had fair share of information related to benefits of
organic products and they were concerned about the harmful effect of chemicals to
human health and environment. This can be used as a big time opportunity to roll in
programs for disseminating information through word-of-mouth which is more
believable. Besides, mass media can also be used to generate buzz in the market.
One of the major inhibiting determinants in the growth of organic products that was
observed was the perception of price disparity between organic products and
conventional products. A very large number of respondents believe that the organic
product sold were expensive in India. This calls in for developing mechanism to bring
down the cost of production through economies of scale, innovative farm
mechanization and sustained government policy support.
A very welcome finding was that the consumers are not quite resistant to pay a bit
higher to cover up the higher cost of production but within a close margin. Approximately
half (51 percent) of the respondents were willing to spend close to 10 percent extra on
organic products when compared to conventional food products, while one fourth are
ready to bear price parity between 10 and 50 percent. The marketers can encash upon this
sentiment of the market by creating multiple price points scaling up-selling.
The analysis points out that there is a significant difference between the concerns
for female consumer as compared to male consumer, which is higher for the former.
BFJ Now this is an important implication in Indian context as in most of the Indian
118,9 families females are the decision makers when it comes to grocery shopping.
The marketing communication needs to be directed to them a little more for a favorable
purchase decision.
The results indicate that there exist a significant relationship between age and
intention to purchase organic food produce. The respondents in the age category of
2322 29-39 were most sensitive to purchase of organic food produce. Indias demographic
statistics speak about major population in the younger bracket and because of rising
concern among the youngsters toward healthy life style the results truly reflect the
respondents general mood. The same may be true for elderly population who are
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equally or more concerned but because of impeding factors, their consumption pattern
is not so favorable to marketers of organic food.
It is surprising to find that the results did not find any significant difference between
income brackets and intention to purchase organic food produce. This may be
attributed to the impeding factors that may overweight the ability to pay price
premium on a regular basis.
The results after the factor analysis clearly point to five major predictors of
perception of organic food products one named as impeding factors that indicate
those variables responsible for inhibiting the growth of organic produce in Indian
context, specially Delhi-NCR, like price, unsure about quality benchmarks, and lack of
awareness of benefits of organic food products; second set of factors as health and
environment which explain the beneficial attributes of organic produce in terms of
health and environment concern. The third set of factors as information and
availability explain the variables that accelerate the growth of organic produce in
terms of advertisement reach and ease of availability of the organic products; the fourth
factor set is trust and certification and it points to variables that reemphasize the
importance of certification and labeling while motivating the purchase of
organic products. The final set of factors named lifestyle explains the hedonic
component of status and lifestyle as an emerging determinant influencing the purchase
of organic products.
The findings depict that the consumer demand of organic food products and strong
growth is assured, provided the industry and government keep a check on price and
increasing the awareness and educating the consumers and farmers. The findings are
of tremendous use to boost the nascent market of organic products in general and
organic food products in specific. The multi-pronged approach by the government,
marketers and farmers could break open a huge market in India and ease its ecological
imbalance and sustain the national mission of food self-reliance and a healthy India.

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Corresponding author
Richa Misra can be contacted at: richa.misra@jaipuria.ac.in

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