Green Entrepreneurship and Organic Products: Empirical Investigation of Customer Behaviour
13th Student Conference in Management Science and Technology
Posted: 24 May 2016
Date Written: May 12, 2016
In recent years, the world has seen a gradual shift in consumers’ preference towards products that are healthier and more environmentally friendly. In the food sector in particular, a lot of consumers seem troubled by the excessive use of plant protection chemicals and preservatives, and seek healthier nutritional choices. As a consequence of this augmenting need, the business activities that revolve around the production and provision of organic products have multiplied. The success of these activities greatly depends on timely recognition and accommodating of the consumers’ specific demands. The purpose of the current study is to explore the modern attitudes and perceptions of consumers with regards to organic products and the companies that provide them at a retail level. The practical significance of this study lies in offering primary data, on which the business decisions of those who are active in this sector can be based. In order for the purpose of the study to be fulfilled, empirical research was conducted with the use of questionnaires, which were mainly addressed to the inhabitants of urban areas, who constitute the vast majority of potential consumers of organic products. Within the framework of this study, 202 valid answers were collected from the wider Attica region, Greece. By analyzing the results, it can be concluded that the majority of the survey participants rarely buy organic products, thus, reflecting the buying behavior of the population in question. They primarily opt for organic fruit and vegetables, and they prefer other organic food products less (dairy, oil, legumes, meat etc.), mainly due to the fact that they consider them more healthy, fresh and tasty. Two factors seem to influence the frequency of the purchase of organic food more: (a) adopting a healthier lifestyle and (b) environmental awareness. The minority of consumers that showcase these characteristics tend to buy organic products more often, regardless of their sex, age, marital status and other demographics. Even if their income is relatively low, this does not usually stand in their way when it comes to consuming organic products on a regular basis, despite the fact that they are more expensive compared to the conventional ones. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that their high price deters the majority of the less aware consumers from buying organic products. The consumers that fall into this category do not seem willing to spend 30-50% more in order to buy them, as they are usually priced today, and set their range much lower (at 10-20%). Women, in particular, appear more sensitive to price and more easily motivated by bargains, compared to men. What is also characteristic is the lack of trust regarding the true status of the products sold as organic, which is mainly exhibited by older consumers. As far as the distribution cannels are concerned, most consumers prefer supermarkets, chiefly because of their easier accessibility and the comparative lower prices they offer. The specialized organic product stores are also preferred, although they must improve their accessibility, as most consumers are not willing to spend their free time looking for them. Online provision of their products could be a solution towards that direction.
Keywords: Green entrepreneurship, organic products
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