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BFJ

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British Food Journal,
Vol. 104 No. 9, 2002, pp. 730-765.
# MCB UP Limited, 0007-070X
DOI 10.1108/00070700210443110
Purchasing motives and profile
of the Greek organic consumer:
a countrywide survey
Christos Fotopoulos
Dearlmenl c/ Iarm Managemenl, ln/ters/lv c/ lcann/na,
Agr/n/c, (reee, and
Athanasios Krystallis
Agr/u/lura/ Ecncm/s and 5c/a/ Researh lnsl/lule, Alhens, (reee
Keywords Ccnsumer /ehat/cur, Organ/ /ccd, lurhas/ng, Mcl/tal/cn, (reee
Abstract The resenl sludv allemls lc c//er mcre /ns/ghls /nlc lhe (ree/ crgan/ mar/el ll
exam/nes lhe crgan/ rcduls as ecrcduls``, su/la//e /cr green`` cnsumers, uhc are
ec/cg/a//v/ent/rcnmenla//v ec/cgvauare and uhc are cnerned u/lh hea/lh and ua//lvc////e
/ssues Ana/vs/ng a cunlrvu/de sam/e, lhe surtev cn/udes lhal lhree cnsumer lves ex/sl /n
lerms c/ all/lude lcuards, urhase /nlenl/cn and auareness c/ crgan/ rcduls. lhe unauare``,
lhe auare ncn/uvers``, and lhe (auare /uvers`` (cr s/m/v /uvers c/ crgan/ /ccd rcduls
A/ler dete/c/ng a dela//ed rc///e c/ lhe //rsl luc, lhe auare /uvers`` lve /s segmenled /n lerms
c/ //te grcus c/ erscna//lv and /ehat/cura/ /alcrs, de//ned /n lhe /nlernal/cna/ //leralure as lhe
dr/t/ng /cres c/ crgan/ urhas/ng
Introduction
Environmental protection issues have become popular in Europe since the
mid-1980s (Greenan el a/, 1997), while in the USA such matters and issues of
health protection worried consumers since the 1960s (Klonsky and Tourte,
1998). Davis el a/ (1995) point out the ``sudden increase of the interest'' in
environmental issues in Europe since 1986, when citizens started mentioning
the issue of environmental protection in various studies as priority issues for
governmental policies. Environmentalism has been quoted as one of the
biggest issues facing business and the public in the 1990s, a decade which has
been called ``the decade of environment'' (Pujari and Wright, 1996). Numerous
well-documented surveys have found that environmental challenge is sure to
be one of the central issues of the twenty-first century (Czinkota and
Ronkainen, 1995).
The question of ``consumerism'', its influence on human health and on the
long-term maintenance and renewal of the planet's resources is addressed here
(Sylverstone, 1993). According to Browne el a/ (2000), the growing interest in
``ethical'' production (in which they include organic) have been both consumer
and trade driven. Consumer theory places ethical consumerism in a ``fourth
wave'' of consumerism, which seeks to reaffirm the moral dimension of
consumer choice (Browne el a/, 2000).
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0007-070X.htm
The authors wish to express their gratitude to the Greek Ministry of Agriculture for its financial
support provided for the accomplishment of this survey.
The Greek
organic
consumer
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In agriculture, the basic question is the link between intensive mass
production and its environmental influences (Zilberman el a/, 1999). The
stricter environmental regulations are usually judged negatively by producers
who complain about their production cost increase, income reduction and
product competitiveness in the new global environment (Kyriakopoulos and
Oude Ophuis, 1997; Zilberman el a/, 1999). On the other hand, consumers, who
claim to be environmentally conscious, place through their requirements
additional demands on manufacturers, distributors, retailers and policy-
makers. Nutrition has social and cultural extensions, since our personal choices
are increasingly influenced by personal values and symbols (Beharrell and
Crockett, 1992).
The present study attempts to offer more insights into the Greek organic
market. It examines the organic products as ``eco-products'', suitable for
consumers conscious of the ecology and the environment, who are health
conscious. Analysing a countrywide sample, the survey concludes that three
consumer types exist in terms of attitude towards, purchase intention and
awareness of organic products: the ``unaware'', the ``aware non-buyers'', and the
``(aware) buyers'' (or simply buyers) of organic food products. After developing
a profile of the first two, the ``aware buyers'' type is segmented in terms of five
groups of personality and behavioural factors defined in the international
literature as the driving forces of organic purchase. Hence, the work opens with
a detailed discussion of the international literature surrounding the ``green'' and
organic consumer types and the factors that affect demand for organic
products. Then, the second, methodological, part introduces the reader to the
aims and objectives of the work, the sample selection criteria and sample
description. The study proceeds in its third part with the analysis and
empirical results, which, together with discussion, are the most crucial parts of
the survey and include the organic market segmentation task and the analysis
of the main findings. Finally, the concluding part summarises the major points
of the study and closes the overall work.
The (ree/ crgan/ mar/el /n num/ers
The organic sector in Greece in 1996 represented 0.15 per cent of the utilisable
agricultural area (UAA) of the country (ranked last in the EU-15), but since then
it exhibits more than +50 per cent average yearly growth rate (the highest in
the EU-15)[1]. In the year 2000 it reached 0.5 per cent of the UAA. The five most
important organic food groups in terms of their 1997/1998 market share and
1993-1997 sales growth rate were respectively:
(1) vegetables: 30 per cent and +60 per cent;
(2) olives/olive oil: 20 per cent and +60 per cent;
(3) cereals: 15 per cent and +70 per cent;
(4) fruits and nuts: 15 per cent and +40 per cent; and
(5) wine: 10 per cent and +50 per cent.
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In terms of sales channels, at least 30 per cent of the organic vegetables, fruits
and cereals have been distributed through specialised shops (whose
development is in its infancy, however) and another at least 30 per cent via
direct sales. The relevant percentages through supermarkets are much lower
(10 per cent for olives/olive oil and cereals, 5 per cent for wine and almost 1 per
cent for fruits and vegetables), contrary to what one can observe in other
European countries with more developed organic markets (e.g. Austria,
Denmark, Finland, Spain, the UK, Luxembourg, Sweden and Norway). Greece
mainly exports organic fruits and olives/olive oil (for both more than 80 per
cent of the organic quantity produced). Producer price premiums above
conventional produce in the period 1997/1998 have been +30-50 per cent for
vegetables, +10-20 per cent for cereals, +20-50 per cent for fruits, +15-50 per
cent for olives/olive oil, and +10-25 per cent for wine. The relevant premiums
paid by consumers have been +50-100 per cent for vegetables, +30-50 per cent
for cereals, +25-50 per cent for fruits, +25-50 per cent for olives/olive oil, and
+20-60 per cent for wine; percentages justified by more recent studies
(Fotopoulos and Krystallis, 2001).
The ``green'' and the organic consumer types
Nowadays, environmental consciousness is not only an ideology of activists,
but also a matter of ``market competition'' (McCloskey and Maddock, 1994),
which influences consumer behaviour (Follows and Jobber, 1999). Many
consumers exhibit preferences for environmental amenities, either directly
through polls or surveys, or indirectly, by participating in outdoor activities,
environmental organisations or causes, or undertaking conservation, recycling,
or other stewardship activities (Erickson and Kramer-LeBlanc, 1991). The
knowledge of the ``green consumer'' is important for the whole food supply
chain and especially for the retailers, since the environmental issues influence
the purchase and nutritional decisions of six out of ten consumers in the UK
and USA (Ottam, 1992). Many US polls since the early 1990s indicate that the
percentage of consumers with a strong degree of environmental awareness
ranges from 37-96 per cent (Erickson and Kramer-LeBlanc, 1991), from 70-90
per cent (Chase and Smith, 1992), or, from 60 per cent to 90 per cent (Follows
and Jobber, 1999). This is in consistency with MINTEL, which concludes that
27 per cent of the British adults are prepared to pay up to 25 per cent more for
``green'' products (Tilikidou and Zotos, 1999). As a group, environmentally
responsible products have obtained market share between 20 per cent and 30
per cent in a number of retail product categories in the UK (Follows and Jobber,
1999).
Teils el a/ (1999) claim that the potential effect of an eco-seal varies
significantly across individuals with different levels of education and
environmental involvement. Further, the effect of the seal seems to be
dependent on the type of other information available to the individual.
Similarly, Tiilikainen and Huddleston (2000) claim that environmentally
concerned North American and European consumers have been usually
The Greek
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characterised as higher income, young to middle aged, better educated, female
(for a wider literature reviewon the profile of the ``greens'' see Rice el a/, 1996).
It is worth mentioning here the results of a survey by Davis el a/ (1995).
They classified UK consumers according to their willingness to buy
environmentally friendly products in ``light green'', ``dark green'' and ``green of
the armchair''. The ``dark greens'' comprised 39 per cent of the sample and were
those who mentioned actively seeking to buy environmentally friendly
products. They were mainly women with children, who are more influenced by
quality rather than by price and are guided by the ``green'' specifications when
they decide what to buy. Only a tenth of the consumers were not interested at
all in the environment, without factors such as ignorance or confusion
concerning the environmentally friendly products influencing their behaviour.
The final conclusion was that the more earnest consumers of such products are
women in the age range 35-44, of a higher socio-economic and cultural
level, who purchase at supermarkets and have children over six years old
(Davis el a/, 1995).
The growth of certification programs around the world also suggests a rise
in consumer preference for a variety of environmentally friendly products, from
apples (Blend and van Ravenswaay, 1999) and seafood (Wessells el a/, 1999) to
textile (Nimon and Beghin, 1999). The need for industry to participate as a
partner in this process has been widely endorsed both at governmental level
and by firms' institutional bodies (Hussain, 2000). Reinhardt (1999) suggests
that managers should make environmental investments for the same reasons
they make other investments: ``because they expect them to deliver positive
returns or to reduce risks''. Furthermore Teils el a/ (1999) point out that, from a
business perspective, eco-labelling may allow firms that use environmentally
preferred production methods to gain market share and maximise any value-
added rents.
Hence, ``green'' consumerism might be characterised as a shift in tastes in
response to firms' marketing claims, stimulating an increase in the
consumption of those products perceived as environmentally friendly, eler/s
ar//us; it is assumed to act as a driver to stimulate the ``greening'' of industry.
However, in order for this to happen, it is a necessary condition that ``green''
consumers can, first, differentiate between competing products or processes on
the basis of their environmental characteristics, and, secondly, that the market
allows ``green'' consumers to reveal their preferences (Hussain, 2000).
While enough attention has been given to the general preferences for
environmentally friendly products, Sriram and Forman (1993) and Teils el a/
(1999) claim that our knowledge regarding the nature and the degree of
``sacrifice'' that consumers are willing to make for this matter is limited. Blend
and van Ravenswaay (1999) argue that different opinion poll data do not
account for economic factors such as prices and income that affect the demand
for eco-labelled products, or for the effect of variation in the attributes of eco-
labels, such as how much environmental improvement is promised or whether
it is certified by an independent third party. Also missing, until recently, has
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been the opportunity for consumers to cast meaningful votes in the market, to
differentiate among products on the basis of environmentally sound
production/management techniques. Because consumers cannot know how
goods are produced, information problems may result in inefficiencies and
social welfare loss (Erickson and Kramer-LeBlanc, 1991).
As a result, Hussain (2000) concludes that, even though most people consider
environmental issues to be of significance, this does not necessarily translate
directly into ``green'' consumerism. Although van Dam (1991) proposed earlier
that this is not necessarily inconsistent behaviour, since consumers might face
trade-offs between environmental friendliness and other product attributes,
there are also opposite opinions to environmentalism. Troy (1994, in Tilikidou
and Zotos, 1999) argues that consumer purchases do not seem to reflect their
intentions as measured by environmental surveys. Thompson and Kidwell
(1998) claim that the expected growth in the market share especially of fresh
organic produce in US supermarkets failed to materialise in the early 1990s as
consumer concerns apparently did not translate into changes in purchasing
behaviour. Peattie (1995) suggests that such observed differences are usually
blamed upon an over-reporting of environmental concern and not purchase.
Reinhardt (1999) argues that environmental problems do not automatically
create opportunities to make money. Simultaneously, the opposite stance that
it never pays for a company to invest in improving its environmental
performance is also incorrect.
The crgan/ cnsumer
One type of environmental but also wider quality and health-conscious
expression is the purchase of organic products. ``Organically grown'' is indeed
the original eco-label, the prototype for all efforts to market an environmental
value (Lipson, 1998). Growth in organic farming in the EU has consistently
been around 25 per cent per year for the past ten years (AgraEurope, 1999) and
similar expansion is reported in the US (Worner and Meier-Ploeger, 1999). As
there is no indication of any change in the EU trend, the sector could expand
from the 1998 level of 2 per cent of the utilisable agricultural area (2.8 million
hectares and 113,000 holdings) to 10 per cent by 2005 and 30 per cent by 2010
(Lampkin, 1999). This level of growth has tremendous implications for the
provision of training, advice and other information to farmers, as well as for the
development of inspection and certification procedures, the reforming of the
organic supply chain and the need for consumer knowledge.
The retail sales value of organic food and beverages in Western Europe, the
USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and China was a total of US$12 billion in 1997,
increased to more than 22 billion in 1998. Over this period, sales raised from
US$4.2 to 8 billion in the USA, from1.8 to 2.5 billion in Germany, from0.8 to 1.2
billion in France, from 0.75 to 1.1 billion in Italy and from 0.45 to 0.9 billion in
the UK (AgraEurope, 1999) and reached 1.7 billion in Japan, 1.2 billion in China,
68 million in Canada and 60 million in Australia (Lohr, 1998). Consumer
commitment to organics is strong throughout the EU, with 20-38 per cent
The Greek
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regularly or occasionally purchasing organic foods. Denmark has set the target
for organic food sales to be 20 per cent of the total food sector in the next few
years (Worner and Meier-Ploeger, 1999). Retail price premiums in Europe
average from 10 per cent to 50 per cent above conventional products. Import
shares are highest in Germany, the UK and The Netherlands (Lohr, 1998). A
total of 130 countries are now producing certified organic food, 90 of which are
developing countries, with ideal environmental and production conditions for
the development of a satisfactory organic produce. As the retail value of the EU
organic sector should reach 25-35 billion EURO by 2005, the sector progresses
fromniche to mainstreamstatus (Lampkin, 1999).
In the short to medium term, lack of supply will be the main problem rather
than lack of demand. This could open up opportunities for producers and
exporters in developing countries. Nevertheless, there are two potential risk
factors: other forms of environmentally friendly and sustainable agriculture
could provide stiffer competition in the future and it would be very dangerous
to assume that producers will always have price premiums. On the other hand,
most developing countries are still faced with a lack of technical know-how and
market information, market access and finance (AgraEurope, 1999), with
Greece being one of them. However, as more organic products become
available, more marketers anticipate that in the near future the organic
``concept'' will be similar to the conventional in terms of general philosophy
(Duram, 1998). In addition, the organic producer will tend ever more towards
the model of the businessman (Dobbs, 1998). More and more processed organic
food is demanded. Customers, especially those shopping in supermarkets, want
convenient and ``easy to prepare'' products with organic ingredients, similar
in appearance and ``quality'' to their conventional counterparts. The
comparability of organic food with the conventional product line is certainly
one of the reasons for the increasing acceptance of organic food in the so-called
mass market (Worner and Meier-Ploeger, 1999).
Ialcrs a//el/ng lhe demand /cr crgan/ rcdue
Various studies concerning consumer behaviour t/sa t/s the organic products
have been conducted in many countries, including the USA, UK, Netherlands,
Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Italy (see the more recent work by
Davis el a/, 1995; Roddy el a/, 1996, Hutchins and Greenhalg, 1997; Reicks el
a/, 1997; Latacz-Lohmann and Foster, 1997; Kyriakopoulos and Oude Ophuis,
1997; Thompson, 1998; Michelsen el a/, 1999; Worner and Meier-Ploeger, 1999;
Santucci el a/, 1999). For a wider review of the US organic consumer surveys
see Thompson and Kidwell (1998). Recently, the same trend can be observed in
Eastern European countries as well (see for example Kucharska and Prus, 2001;
Lubieniechi, 2001; Krmpotic el a/, 2001). To a limited extent in terms of sample
size or geographical distribution, organic consumer surveys have also been
conducted in Greece (Patsis and Papadopoulos, 1994; Fotopoulos, 1996; Kaldis
and Gardelli, 1996; Zotos el a/, 1999; Tzimitra-Kalogianni el a/, 1999;
Chryssochoidis, 2000).
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Those studies designate how consumers perceive the organic concept,
examining issues related to the demand for organic produce, consumers'
attitudes and the factors that facilitate or hinder the acceptance of these
products. As Worner and Meier-Ploeger (1999) put it:
It seems that the ``typical'' organic consumer, the long-haired freak with a beard or the hippie
mother with three children does not really exist. The demand for organic products is more
and more based on value concepts, living situation and access to information instead of
socio-demographic factors.
The organic purchasing motives should be attributed to some kind of
environmental/ethical, quality/health consciousness and exploratory food
buying behaviour, as well as to specific product attributes such as nutrition
value, taste, freshness, and price (Tregear el a/, 1994; Grunert and Juhl, 1995;
Davis el a/, 1995; Roddy el a/, 1996; Reicks el a/, 1997; Zanoli, 1998; Zotos el a/,
1999; Worner and Meier-Ploeger, 1999; Chryssochoidis, 2000; Browne el a/,
2000). Some consumer surveys also reveal a variety of other organic
purchasing reasons that seem to reflect national interests, such as ``support to
organic farmers'' for the German consumers (Worner and Meier-Ploeger, 1999)
or ``animal welfare'' for the British (Meier-Ploeger and Woodward, 1999). Not
surprisingly, the main reasons for organic purchase that the European retailers
(Greek included) cite when marketing organic foods are: health, environmental
protection, taste and animal welfare, demonstrating a kind of market
orientation of the retailing towards organic food (Michelsen el a/, 1999).
The organic product purchase is, as we have seen, a matter of lifestyle choice
by environmentally conscious consumers (Sriramand Forman, 1993). Buyers of
organic products are proved to be among the most fanatically devoted ``green''
consumers. Davis el a/ (1995) note that only 6.8 per cent of organic consumers
are limited into only the purchase of organic products. In contrast, 44 per cent
of them go forward into more acts of environmental sensitivity, such as the
purchase of environmentally friendly detergents or a conscious recycle of paper
or glass. Hartman (1998) claims that 48 per cent of the American population
indicates that they have a tremendous interest in purchasing environmentally
sound products. In addition, ethical and organic trading are beginning to
increasingly overlap. A rising number of fairly traded goods are also organic
and the organic movement is moving towards including social rights and fair
trade in its standards (Browne el a/, 2000).
The matter of increased health care through proper nutrition is a key factor
influencing consumption choice. The impact of the recent food safety scandals
on public opinion (e.g. BSE crisis) plays an important role in the organic food
purchase choice. The appearance of such scandals had been pointed out early
enough in the international literature. For example, Lacey (1992) mentions 12
important cases in the UK in a period of three years 1988-1991. On the other
side of the Atlantic, concerns over chemical residues have existed for quite
some time but it was not until the Alar-sprayed apples incident in 1989 that
chemical residue issues received widespread attention (Texas A&M
University, 2000) The result is a lack of trust on behalf of consumers t/sa t/s
The Greek
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certain categories of mass food manufacturers (Davis el a/, 1995). While there
seems to be a price-sensitive consumer type, one can observe a continuously
increasing tendency of choosing foods of higher quality and safety (OECD,
1997), including organic food.
Hence, the German umbrella association of the organic food sector (BNN)
concludes that health is the central motivation to buy organic products. In a
German organic consumer poll conducted in 1999, 67 per cent of the people
interviewed named health aspects as main reason for buying organic, with only
13 per cent indicating the better taste and another 10 per cent justifying their
organic shopping habits on environmental grounds (Worner and Meier-
Ploeger, 1999). The same is the case for the UK, where health is cited by 46 per
cent of the people and ``no chemicals/pesticides'' which can relate to both
health and environment by 41 per cent (Meier-Ploeger and Woodward, 1999).
However, Conklin and Thompson (1993) mention that there are no really
important differences among organic and non-organic products as regards
their content in pesticides, mainly because the non-organic production is
heavily inspected in such matters.
The view that organic production is tastier than the conventional is not
widely proven. The attitude of a better taste is probably connoted indirectly, as
a result of the view that the organic fruits and vegetables are produced in small
quantities and are of more tasty varieties (Davis el a/, 1995). Nevertheless,
Mikkelsen (1993) claims that there are no important nutritional reasons that
convince for a consumption of organic products. Nevertheless, taste is rated
high enough in countries such as Germany (13-24 per cent) and the UK (40 per
cent) (Meier-Ploeger and Woodward, 1999).
More critical in their findings are Hutchins and Greenhalg (1997). The
majority of their sample (93 per cent) stated that they buy organic products for
health reasons and/or because they are more nutritional for the children,
although this is not scientifically proven or the nutritional benefits are, at best,
marginal. Less than one third stated as a reason for organic food purchase its
environmental friendliness, although this is the only scientifically proven
result. Thus, it seems that consumers have a rather general idea concerning the
meaning of ``organic'', and from point the views diverge from reality (Hutchins
and Greenhalg, 1997).
The main reasons for purchase that reverse the favourable attitude towards
the organic products (Sylverstone, 1993; Davis el a/, 1995; Roddy el a/, 1996;
Latacz-Lohmann and Foster, 1997; Reicks el a/, 1997; Worner and Meier-
Ploeger, 1999) are price and availability. Tregear el a/ (1994) and Roddy el a/
(1996) additionally mention lack of some special value in the eyes of consumers.
Worner and Meier-Ploeger (1999) also mention doubts on the product
guarantee, lack of promotion and unclear declarations of the organic status.
Regarding the percentage extra that consumers are willing to pay for the
organic products, Davis el a/ (1995) refer to initial studies which specify the
extra at 5 per cent in 1987, increased to 49 per cent in only two years (1989),
while calculating it at about 30 per cent in a sample of Irish consumers in 1995.
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Hutchins and Greenhalg (1997) note that approximately half of the consumers
from their sample were willing to pay more for organic foods, the majority of
which reaching levels of 10-20 per cent. Meier-Ploeger and Woodward (1999)
claim that 52 per cent of the German consumers of their sample were willing to
pay more for organic fruits and vegetables, 34 per cent for animal products and
39 per cent for grain products. Zanoli (1998) concludes that surveys generally
underestimate the real amount of these premiums due to respondents' ``free-
riding'' behaviour. In the real market, final consumers often pay up to 300 per
cent premiums for organic purchases.
Sylverstone (1993), among others, mentions that affluent supply is the other
great obstacle to the conscious consumption of organic products. There were 2
per cent in his sample that he found to be ``loyal'' users of organic products,
determined to seek consciously such products. However, 13 per cent of the
market strictly demanded a regular, diverse and accessible production and
supply. In general, as societies move from the first stages of acceptance of
organic products to more mature and conscious levels, a certain reversal of the
non-purchase factors' importance can be observed, from price to availability
(Roddy el a/, 1996). However, price still remains the major organic purchase-
averse factor in many studies (Reicks el a/, 1997).
Regarding the socio-demographic profile of the organic product buyers, all
the above studies agree that the buyers are mainly women, who buy larger
quantities and more frequently than men. Slight difference between the two
sexes is observed as regards their willingness to pay more (Davis el a/, 1995,
mention that 41 per cent of men would pay more compared with 44 per cent of
women). In contrast, Reicks el a/ (1997) report that, according to the 1996 US
Fresh Trends survey findings, males have been more likely to indicate that
they had purchased organic products six months prior to the survey.
The age factor does not seem to play an important role either, with the
younger seeming slightly more willing to buy (more and expensive) due to a
greater environmental consciousness, which, however, does not translate into
demand due to their lower purchasing power. However, a body of literature
exists indicating the importance of age as an organic purchase factor (see, for
example, Reicks el a/, 1997). On the other hand, the presence of children in the
family seems to play an important role, influencing positively the organic
purchase (Reicks el a/, 1997; Thompson and Kidwell, 1998), although more
attention should be paid to the children's age as organic purchase factor.
The disposable income seems to affect mainly the quantity of organic
products bought and not the general willingness to buy. Yet, despite high
price premiums for organic food, higher household incomes do not
necessarily indicate higher likelihood of organic purchases. Some lower
income segments seem to be more entrenched buyers. Generally, females, in
younger age groups, higher levels of education and income, and in families
with children are more likely to buy organic. Yet, there is often mixed
evidence (Reicks el a/, 1997; Krissoff, 1998), as in the case of the ``green''
consumers described earlier.
The Greek
organic
consumer
739
It is worth noting that, according to Kyriakopoulos and Oude Ophuis (1997),
environmental, health and quality-conscious strategies, which ignore the
consumer as a moving force of competition, risk being static over time. To trace
the views of Greek consumers is a challenge that can be a critical parameter of
success. Innovative products based on consumers' needs and demands can be a
solution, providing producers with clear directional lines concerning the
preferences and motives of the ``eco-product'' purchasers.
Methodology
A study of the procedure through which the Greek consumers evaluate the
organic products is, therefore, necessary and valuable. In the present study a
countrywide stratified sample is used in order to examine the differences
between three hypothesised Greek consumer subgroups: the unaware, the
aware non-buyers and the (aware) buyers of organic products. Our main
objective is to analyse further the organic buyers by identifying possible
clusters (using cluster and discriminant analysis) in terms of their quality,
health and environmental consciousness, their price sensitivity, and their
exploratory buying behaviour, according to previous surveys identified in the
international literature and presented herein. A number of these surveys
offered valuable insights for the development of the questionnaire used in the
present case.
5am/e se/el/cn
Most of the previously mentioned organic consumer studies measure attitudes
regarding the purchase of organic produce rather than actual purchase choices
or behaviour (Thompson and Kidwell, 1998). The present survey is exploratory
in nature, assuming that no prior knowledge exists about the general Greek
population's attitudes towards the organic products. Thus, we attempt to
analyse both Greek consumers' attitudes and actual organic choice.
Regarding the more recently conducted surveys of the Greek organic
consumer, Chryssochoidis (2000) used a convenience sample of 888 food
shoppers at major supermarkets in eight cities around the country; Tzimitra-
Kalogianni el a/ (1999) used a convenience sample of 104 shoppers at five health-
food shops in the area of Thessaloniki (second largest city of Greece); and Zotos
el a/ (1999) used a randomsample of 1,035 consumers in the same area.
In our case, the population under investigation can be defined as:
Food purchase decision-makers (mostly females), in the age between 18 and 70, residents of
urban areas of continental Greece and the island of Crete.
Thus, the geographic location of the survey includes the two larger cities of
Athens (20.7 per cent of the sample) and Thessaloniki (12.1 per cent), as well as
eight large (20.1 per cent) and 15 smaller (47.1 per cent) cities within the above-
defined geographic area. A stratified sample of 1,612 respondents has been
used and distributed according to national population data and in a way that
reflects the real geographical distribution of the Greek population. Athens'
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representativeness has been lower, though, a fact that was necessary in order to
include in the sample as many areas as possible and, at the same time, maintain
its size at an easily manageable level. The method of personal interviews at
respondents' places was selected, each one of which lasted 30-40 minutes,
during the period January-April 2000. Questionnaire pre-testing and the
resulting improvements took place during November-December 1999.
The questionnaire first includes an introductory ``food purchase behaviour'',
``dietary habits'' and ``media use'' part. Then, the ``filter questions'' part makes the
discrimination between the three organic subgroups possible. The ``organic-
related personality factors'' part follows (``environmental, health and quality
consciousness'' measurement, together with ``exploratory food purchase
behaviour'' and ``attitudes towards organic food''), coupled with the ``non-organic-
related personality factors'' part (attitude towards ``ethnocentrism'',
``traditionalism'', ``convenience'', ``advertisement'' and ``food price''). These two
parts offer the possibility of analysing the behaviour of each subgroup and
further segmenting the ``organic buyers'' type using five-point Likert agreement
scales. The final part includes the socio-demographic selection strata, which aid in
further explaining the behaviour and enriching the identified consumer profiles.
5am/e desr/l/cn
It is worth mentioning that 73.8 per cent of the sample are women, justifying the
criterion of inclusion in the sample of the main food purchase decision-maker of
the household. In terms of the socio-demographic selection strata, an attempt
has been made to follow as closely as possible the 1998 National Statistical
Service of Greece (NSSG) survey distribution for the overall population
(percentages in brackets, NSSG, 2000). Indeed, 18.8 per cent (15 per cent) of the
sample have a university degree, 37.8 per cent (37 per cent) of the women work
out-of-home and 34.6 per cent (35.9 per cent) of the sample are in the upper-
average income level of US$10-20,000. In addition, 76.3 per cent (79.4 per cent)
are married and 58.9 per cent (63.6 per cent) have one or two children. Regarding
their profession, 37.8 per cent are state or private employees (scientists and non-
scientists), 25.9 per cent are self-employed (scientists and non-scientists),
including firmowners and superior and average level managers, and 11 per cent
are all education level pensioners. Finally, 22 per cent of the sample belong to
the 18-30 age group, 28.9 per cent are from 31-40, 18.9 per cent from 41-50 and
another 30.2 per cent belong to the 51-70 age group.
A number of ``food purchase behaviour'', ``diet habits'' and ``media
consumption'' variables were included at this stage of the research (see Table I).
It is interesting that the majority of the respondents: purchase food at least
once per week (66.3 per cent); spend at least US$50 per week on food (83.2 per
cent); and most frequently shop at supermarkets (80.9 per cent) and open
markets (75.1 per cent) with only 2.4 per cent of the sample frequently
purchasing food at specialty shops. Only 55.1 per cent claim to follow a
balanced diet. The majority of the sample are heavy TV watchers, average
radio listeners and light newspaper and magazine buyers.
The Greek
organic
consumer
741
Table I.
Food purchase
behaviour, dietary
patterns and media
consumption, overall
sample, n =1,612
n
Iccd urhase /ehat/cur
I usually purchase food (per cent)
Once/week oo1
More than once 11.2
Less than once 33.7
I usually spend for food weekly (per cent)
<$50
a
16.8
$50-75 46
>$75 37.2
I purchase at local stores (per cent)
Frequently 22.3
Rarely 406
Never 36.2
No answer 0.9
I purchase at supermarkets (per cent)
Frequently 809
Rarely 14.1
Never 4.6
No answer 0.4
I purchase at hypermarkets (per cent)
Frequently 22.8
Rarely 25.4
Never o11
No answer 0.7
I purchase at specialty shops (per cent)
Frequently 2.4
Rarely 7.4
Never 89S
No answer 0.9
I purchase at open markets (per cent)
Frequently 7o1
Rarely 14.3
Never 10.4
No answer 0.1
D/el ha//ls (er enl
I usually have the time to eat three times/day
Strongly agree 7.9
Agree S48
Neither . . . nor . . . 17.2
Disagree 33.8
Strongly disagree 6.2
I consume small quantities of food frequently during the day
Strongly agree 3.9
Agree 19.8
Neither . . . nor . . . 24.7
Disagree 44S
Strongly disagree 7.3
(cnl/nued
BFJ
104,9
742
Table I.
n
I usually eat once during the day, at home, due to my daily job
Strongly agree 4.5
Agree 18.7
Neither . . . nor . . . 19.4
Disagree 469
Strongly disagree 10.4
I generally believe that I follow a balanced diet
Strongly agree 6.3
Agree 488
Neither . . . nor . . . 23.4
Disagree 19.2
Strongly disagree 2.2
Fruits and vegetables are always included in my daily diet
Strongly agree 14.8
Agree o84
Neither . . . nor . . . 16.6
Disagree 8.9
Strongly disagree 1.1
Med/a cnsuml/cn (er enl
In weekdays, I watch TV for:
2 hours 6S9
>2 hours 24.9
<2 hours 10.7
No answer 0.5
In weekends, I watch TV for:
3 hours o66
>3 hours 34.6
<3 hours 7.9
Not answer 1
I listen to the radio:
Every day 47
Some days 33.5
Never 19.5
I buy newspapers:
Every day 19
Some days 24.3
Weekends only 15
Never 416
No answer 0.1
I buy magazines:
Every week 24.6
Every month 17.6
Occasionally 13
Never 4S1
No answer 1.8
Note:
a
US$1: 390GRD, as in September 2000
The Greek
organic
consumer
743
Analysis and empirical results
D/sr/m/nal/cn /elueen crgan/ unauare``, auare ncn/uvers`` and (auare
/uvers``
In the beginning of the questionnaire a series of filter questions were included,
in order to discriminate between the users and the non-users of the organic
products (see Table II).
It is clear that stated awareness of organic products is very high among the
respondents. However, when asked to provide a definition of the term, only half
of them (54 per cent) gave the accurate definition, with another approximately
Table II.
Filter questions used to
discriminate between
buyers and non-buyers
(n =1,612)
Yes
aware (%) n
No
unaware (%) n
1 Hate vcu eter heard c/ lhe lerm
crgan/ rcduls``
81.5 1314 18.5 298
? Ccu/d vcu rct/de a de//n/l/cn c/
lhe lerm
Without chemicals 54.0
Natural/pure food 9.8
Healthy food 5.1
No-pollution related food 3.4
vs
Food related to GM or chemicals 2.9
Detergents 1.6
Other 9.2
Do not know/answer 14.0
S Thal /s lhe //rsl lhcughl lhal lhe
lerm crgan/`` /r/ngs /nlc m/nd
Healthiness 18.8 Healthiness 8.3
Traditional cultivation 16.0 Traditional cultivation 4.3
``Cleaner'' food 6.3 ``Cleaner'' food 10.4
Without chemicals 3.5 Without chemicals 5
vs vs
Processed residuals 14.7 Processed residuals 7.7
Canned food 8.5 Animal products only 4.7
Animal products only 4.0 Greenhouse products 6.7
Greenhouse products 3.3
Do not know/answer 34.5
Other 14.7
Do not know/answer 10.2
4 Thcse auare c/ lhe crgan/
rcduls, usua//v urhase lhem
(er enl /n lhe ctera// sam/e.
>Once per week 0.7
Once per week 2.8
Once per month 4.6
Never 73.1
Not answer 0.3
BFJ
104,9
744
20 per cent relating the organic products to something close to the main ideas of
the organic scheme. The remaining almost 25 per cent provided a totally
irrelevant definition, seriously decreasing the real awareness level. On the other
hand, the term ``organic'' brought to the mind of only 20 per cent of those
having never heard of it something close to its real definition (Table II, filter
question 3, last column).
The unauare cnsumers (18o er enl cr ?98 rescndenls
In order to develop a profile of the 298 respondents never having heard of
organic products (``unaware''), the same socio-demographic and behavioural
variables are selected (see Table III).
The main statistically significant differences between the aware and the
unaware subgroups are that the unaware consumers:
.
exhibit a much lower education level; and
.
live in areas of the country far from the main centres of the organic
production (mainly in smaller towns of northern Greece).
As expected, the familiarity with the organic products seems to coincide with
their production area, such as in southern and south-eastern Greece and Crete,
where the awareness level is much higher. After all, the very limited and
unbalanced geographical distribution is one of the major problems of the Greek
organic production (Pantzios and Tzouvelekas, 1999). The income level, gender,
marital status, family size and working women's existence in the household do
not seem to play a discriminating role. The unaware purchase food at
hypermarkets and specialty shops at a much lesser extent and are heavier TV
watchers and lighter newspaper and magazine buyers than the aware
consumers. This fact could be related to their overall lower education level and
the mainly rural character of their place of residence.
The auare ncn/uvers c/ crgan/ rcduls (7S1 er enl cr 1,178 rescndenls
The final filter question used (Table II, q. 4) enables us to distinguish, within the
aware consumers, between those who purchase organic food and those who do
not. Hence, 73.1 per cent of the sample (1,178 respondents), although aware, never
purchase organic food, in contrast with another 8.1 per cent (130 respondents)
who can be characterised as organic product buyers and constitute the main
target of the present study. These results are in contrast to those by Zotos el a/
(1999), which estimated the ``aware'' subgroup at the level of 30.5 per cent and the
user at the 18.7 per cent, though not at a countrywide context. On the other hand,
it is worth mentioning that the actual organic market size of 8 per cent is equal to
that of the US market in 1988, as it is reported by a 1989 US national survey
appearing in the la/er Icus (Texas A&MUniversity, 2000).
The statistically significant differences between the buyers and non-
buyers in terms of the same variables used previously and six additional
variables provide an explanation as to the reasons of organic non-purchase (see
Tables IVand V).
The Greek
organic
consumer
745
In line with the previous findings the non-buyers exhibit (statistically
significant) lower education levels compared with the buyers. Both their
income level and purchase frequency at speciality shops are lower (as
expected). Their overall diet habits seem less health-oriented, a fact that may
indicate that their profession is not as demanding as that of the buyers in terms
of time devoted. In addition, they exhibit a lighter newspaper use.
Regarding the reasons for not purchasing organic food, they (strongly) agree
that the main reason is its very lowavailability (80.6 per cent), in line with Zotos el
a/ (1999), and second is its high price (40 per cent), as was the case in the US ten
Table III.
Statistically significant
differences (
2
and
one-way ANOVA)
between the unaware
(n =298) and the aware
consumer subgroups
Aware Unaware
Edual/cn (er enl*
Elementary 56 39.8
High school or technical school 30.5 39.6
University 13.1 19.3
Post-graduate 0.3 1.2
Area c/ res/dene (er enl**
Athens 16.4 21.7
Thessaloniki 19.1 10.5
North Greece 36.2 25.1
Central Greece 12.8 17.7
South Greece 16.5 24.1
Iccd urhase /ehat/cur (er enl
I purchase at hypermarkets*
Frequently 18.2 24
Rarely 17.8 27.4
Never 64 48.6
I purchase at specialty shops**
Frequently 1 2.8
Rarely 4.4 8.2
Never 94.6 89.1
Med/a use (er enl
At weekends, I watch TV**
3 hours 66.7 55
>3 hours 26.5 36.8
<3 hours 6.8 8.2
I buy newspapers*
Every day 12.4 20.6
Some days 20.5 25.2
Weekends only 18.8 14.2
Never 48.3 40.1
I buy magazines**
Every week 19 26.4
Every month 16 18.4
Occasionally 14.3 13
Never 50.7 42.3
Notes: * Significant for <0.001; ** significant for <0.01
BFJ
104,9
746
years ago (Jolly el a/, 1989, in Zotos el a/, 1999). Then, 29 per cent claim
satisfaction with conventional food, and not having any reason to try organic. It is
encouraging that only 18.8 per cent and 6.7 per cent of the non-buyers find poor
appearance and poor quality respectively as reasons of rejecting organic food and
only 9.8 per cent argue that these products have nothing special to offer to them.
Table IV.
Statistically significant
differences (
2
and
one-way ANOVA)
between the aware
non-buyer (n =1,184)
and the buyer
consumer subgroups
Aware Unaware
Edual/cn (er enl*
Elementary 41.3 26.2
High school or technical school 39.2 43.8
University 18.5 26.9
Post graduate 1 3.1
lncme /n l5$**
<10,000 14.1 3.9
10-20,000 42.6 49.2
>20,000 8.2 19.9
Not answer 35 26.9
Iccd urhase /ehat/cur (er enl*
I purchase at specialty shops
Frequently 1.5 15
Rarely 6.4 24.4
Never 92.2 60.6
D/el ha//ls (er enl
I usually eat once during the day, at home, due to my daily job*
Strongly agree 4.5 6.2
Agree 18 29.5
Neither . . . nor . . . 19.8 21.7
Disagree 47.3 30.2
Strongly disagree 10.1 12.4
I generally believe that I follow a balanced diet*
Strongly agree 5.8 12.3
Agree 48.1 57.7
Neither . . . nor . . . 24.2 16.2
Disagree 19.9 21.7
Strongly disagree 1.9 0
Fruits and vegetables are always included in my diet*
Strongly agree 13.6 23.8
Agree 59.3 61.5
Neither . . . nor . . . 16.8 8.5
Disagree 9.1 5.4
Strongly disagree 1.3 0.8
Med/a use (er enl
I buy newspapers*
Every day 19.2 33.1
Some days 24.6 30.8
Weekends only 14.3 13.1
Never 41.9 23.1
Notes: * Significant for <0.001; ** significant for <0.01
The Greek
organic
consumer
747
The auare /uvers`` (81 er enl cr 1S0 rescndenls
With the use of the 4th filter question it is possible to establish a frequency of
organic products' purchase. Thus, 0.7 per cent (11 respondents) buy organic more
than once per week, 2.8 per cent (45) once per week, and 4.6 per cent (74) once per
month or less. We have already seen buyers' statistically significant characteristics
in comparison with the non-buyers. It is worth mentioning that 30 per cent of the
buyers are younger than 40 and another 23.8 per cent are between 40 and 50. Also
of note 76.9 per cent are women and 50.8 per cent of the women work out-of-home;
83.8 per cent are married and 59.2 per cent have one or two children; 30 per cent
have a university degree, 49.2 per cent are in the upper-average income level of
US$10-20,000 and another 19.9 per cent belong to the upper >US$20,000 income
group. Regarding their profession, 38.5 per cent are state or private employees
(scientists and non-scientists), 27.7 per cent are self-employed (scientists and non-
scientists), including firm owners and superior and average level managers and
13.1 per cent are all education level pensioners. Finally, almost half of them (41.5
per cent) live in cities and towns of southern Greece, 18.5 per cent in Thessaloniki,
and only 13.1 per cent of the buyers live in Athens.
The majority of them follow the overall sample in terms of food purchase
behaviour, yet they show the highest of all sample preference towards specialty
shops (14.6 per cent). Regarding their diet habits, they exhibit a health-
conscious orientation, yet it seems that their time-consuming jobs do not give
them the opportunity to follow a more healthy nutrition pattern, at least in
terms of meal frequency and quantity. Finally, they exhibit the heaviest
consumption of all the printed media under examination (see Table VI).
A number of additional questions tried to offer a more detailed buyer profile.
The most frequently purchased organic foods, in accordance with Tzimitra-
Kalogianni el a/ (1999) and Zotos el a/ (1999), are tomatoes (50.8 per cent), and
other vegetables such as green salads (10 per cent). Not surprisingly, the
preferences of the Greek consumers coincide with those of other Europeans, such
as the German and the British, who also mostly prefer organic fresh vegetables
(65 per cent and 40 per cent respectively, Meier-Ploeger and Woodward, 1999)
and whose preferences are similar to those of the US consumers a decade ago.
Table V.
Reasons for not
purchasing organic
products, aware
non-buyer subgroup
(n =1,184)
Strongly
agree Agree
Neither
. . . nor Disagree
Strongly
disagree
No
answer
The reascn uhv l dc ncl urhase
crgan/ rcduls /s (er enl
Their high price 107 ?9S 26 25.3 5.8 2.9
Their poor appearance 2.5 16.3 26.6 4S8 8? 2.5
Their low availability 4?7 S79 10 6.5 0.8 2
Their poor quality 2.5 4.1 15.8 o68 18? 2.5
That they do not have anything
special to offer
3 6.8 19.9 o41 14S 1.9
That I am satisfied with the
common products
3 26 36.4 ?7S o7 1.7
BFJ
104,9
748
Table VI.
Socio-demographic
profile of the buyer
subgroup (n =130)
n
Iccd urhase /ehat/cur
I usually purchase food (per cent)
Once/week o6?
More than once 16.9
Less than once 26.9
I usually spend for food weekly (per cent)
<50$
a
17.7
50-75$ 46?
>75$ 36.2
I purchase at local stores (per cent)
Frequently 18.5
Rarely 48o
Never 30.8
No answer 2.3
I purchase at supermarkets (per cent)
Frequently 7o4
Rarely 17.7
Never 4.6
No answer 2.3
I purchase at hypermarkets (per cent)
Frequently 22.3
Rarely 42.3
Never SS1
No answer 2.3
I purchase at specialty shops (per cent)
Frequently 14.6
Rarely 23.8
Never o9?
No answer 2.3
I purchase at open markets (per cent)
Frequently 769
Rarely 18.5
Never 4.6
No answer 0
D/el ha//ls (er enl
I usually have the time to eat three times/day
Strongly agree 4.6
Agree 24.6
Neither . . . nor . . . 21.5
Disagree 446
Strongly disagree 4.6
I consume small quantities of food frequently during the day
Strongly agree 3.1
Agree 18.5
Neither . . . nor . . . 27.7
Disagree S0?
Strongly disagree 12.3
(cnl/nued
The Greek
organic
consumer
749
See, for example, the 1989 national survey appearing in the la/er Icus, where
34 per cent of the organic consumers purchase tomatoes and another 28 per cent
various other fresh vegetables (Texas A&MUniversity, 2000).
Therefore, the Greeks prefer olives and olive oil (8.5 per cent), oranges,
potatoes, wine, fruit juices and pasta (all 3.8 per cent), other fruits (2.3 per cent),
Table VI.
n
I usually eat once during the day, at home, due to my daily job
Strongly agree 6.2
Agree 29.2
Neither . . . nor . . . 21.5
Disagree S0
Strongly disagree 12.4
I generally believe that I follow a balanced diet
Strongly agree 12.3
Agree o77
Neither . . . nor . . . 16.2
Disagree 13.8
Strongly disagree 0
Fruits and vegetables are always included in my daily diet
Strongly agree 23.8
Agree 61o
Neither . . . nor . . . 8.5
Disagree 5.4
Strongly disagree 0.8
Med/a cnsuml/cn (er enl
Every weekday, I watch TV for:
2 hours o77
>2 hours 33.1
<2 hours 9.2
No answer 0
Every weekend, I watch TV for:
3 hours 44.6
>3 hours 477
<3 hours 7
I listen to the radio:
Every day o46
Some days 27.7
Never 17.7
I buy newspapers:
Every day 33.1
Some days 30.8
Weekends only 13.1
Never ?S1
I buy magazines:
Every week 30
Every month 18.5
Occasionally 18.5
Never SS1
Note:
a
US$1: 390GRD, as in September 2000
BFJ
104,9
750
and apples and bread (both 0.8 per cent) follow. The retail outlets at which the
buyers can frequently purchase organic products are the organic open markets
(26.9 per cent), the specialty shops (16.9 per cent) and the supermarkets (9.2 per
cent). We can observe that percentages are very low for all three organic retail
outlets, in contrast to other studies Hutchins and Greenhalg (1997) and Reicks
el a/ (1997) in which it is noted that supermarkets provide the ideal organic
purchase place for the UK and US consumers. These low percentages for all
three organic retail outlets indicate the very limited availability of organic
products in the Greek market.
A number of variables related to the organic choice are also added, such as
the ``source of information on organic products'', ``overall opinion on the organic
products'', ``active involvement in organic products' purchasing process'', and
``reasons for buying organic'' (see Table VII).
The main sources of information on organic products for the Greek
consumers are friends, family and the media, with the lack of organised state or
private promotional campaigns as information sources being more than
obvious and directly stressed by 68.5 per cent of them.
As expected, buyers' opinion on organic products is very positive, even
regarding organic products' availability. Surprisingly, however, 44.6 per cent
believe that they are expensive for what they offer. Although buyers' stated
that involvement in the purchasing process has been high, they seem confused
in relation to the existence of organic preferable brand. This indicates the lack
of organic brands in the Greek market and the potential responsibility of the
food firms and retail chains for that. One third of the buyers also seemconfused
with the distinction between organic and conventional food, with another 16.1
per cent totally unable to say the difference between them, a fact that
demonstrates the lack of accurate knowledge even among the buyers of organic
products. In addition, an overall reason for organic products' selection has been
their healthiness and environmental friendliness (98.4 per cent both), their
superior quality (93.8 per cent) and their better taste (86.9 per cent) in
comparison to the conventional food products.
Finally, a number of personality variables not directly related with the
organic choice behaviour, yet of particular value to the completeness of the
buyers' profile, are included in the analysis. These variables are related to the
attitude of the users towards the ``Greek tradition'' in food purchase and
preparation, their potential ``ethnocentric'' stance, the ``convenience'' as a food
selection factor, their ``innovative'' dietary behaviour and their attitude towards
``advertising messages'' and in-store promotion activities (see Table VIII).
It can be said that the organic buyers very strongly favour the Greek
tradition as a food preparation and purchase criterion, and this is coupled with
their very strong ethnocentric tendency in food-related matters. Surprisingly,
the organic buyers exhibit a strong tendency towards convenience in food
preparation and purchase, contrary to what one might expect. In terms of their
innovative behaviour in food purchase and preparation, 30-40 per cent of the
The Greek
organic
consumer
751
Table VII.
More details on the
buyer subgroup I:
organic selection-
related variables
(per cent)
Strongly
agree Agree
Neither
. . . nor Disagree
Strongly
disagree
No
answer
Organ/ rcduls` scure c/ /n/crmal/cn
Media (TV, radio) 4.6 o08 12.3 16.9 11.5 3.8
Press 6.9 o0 12.3 17.7 8.5 4.6
Friends ?S1 477 10.8 11.5 3.1 3.8
Family 18o S77 7.7 21.5 7.7 6.9
Specialists (doctors etc.) 6.9 13.1 20 4S1 12.3 4.6
Scientific articles 6.2 13.1 17.7 446 13.1 5.4
State promotional campaign 3.1 11.5 19.2 46? 15.4 4.6
Private promotional campaign 3.1 26.9 16.2 So4 13.8 4.6
The crgan/ rcduls are (/n
cmar/scn lc lhe cntenl/cna/
Healthier 46.9 o1o 1.5 0.8
Tastier 31.5 o46 11.5 1.5 0.8
More fresh 35.4 o08 9.2 3.8 0.8
Cleaner 42.3 oS1 3.8 0.8
Pure/natural 46.2 o08 3.1
Authentic 38.5 oS8 6.2 0.8 0.8
Chemical residual-free 44.6 o08 3.8 0.8
Additive-free 40 o6? 3.8
More rich source of nutrients 40 oo4 3.1 0.8 0.8
Of generally higher value 39.2 o9? 1.5
Ideal for children's diet 41.5 oo4 3.1
Guaranteed due to their label 30 oo4 13.1 1.5
Good for the soil 43.1 o6? 0.8
Widely available 31.5 So4 13.8 13.8 5.4
Of poor appearance 6.9 30.8 20 S1o 10.8
Expensive for what they offer 10.8 SS8 27.7 24.6 3.1
Not satisfactorily promoted 28.5 40 18.5 13.1
Al/te /ntc/temenl /n crgan/
urhas/ng rcess
Organic products are important for
my family's diet
14.6 oS1 17.7 13.8 0.8
I would be interested in knowing
how they are produced
28.5 6o4 4.6 1.5
Before buying, I have compared
them with conventional
14.6 477 26.2 10.8 0.8
There are many differences
between organic brands
7.7 31.5 4o4 9.2 2.3 3.8
There is a specific organic brand I
prefer
3.1 25.4 S69 22.3 10 2.3
I know how to distinguish the
organic products
169 S46 32.3 13.8 2.3
Otera// reascns /cr /uv/ng crgan/
rcduls
They are healthier 44.6 oS8 0.8 0.8
They are tastier 32.3 o46 9.2 3.1 0.8
They are more environmentally
friendly
46.9 o1o 0.8 0.8
They are of superior quality 44.6 49? 4.6 0.8 0.8
BFJ
104,9
752
Table VIII.
More details on the
buyer subgroup II:
other personality-
related variables
(per cent)
S
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Table VIII.
BFJ
104,9
754
organic buyers appear willing to try new dishes and combinations, although
another one third of themseemsceptical or even reluctant.
While the majority of the organic buyers disagree with the statement that
the advertising messages are always true, they also seem sceptical about the
opposite (that the advertising messages are always ``lies''). They rather agree
that advertising messages always tend to exaggerate. In addition, only one
third of them pay attention to the food products' in-store promotional activities,
and another one third claim not to pay attention to the advertisements that
accompany foods, indicating a lack of interest in, or even confidence for the
advertisement campaigns, a fact that has serious strategic implications and
needs further analysis.
5egmenl/ng lhe (ree/ crgan/ mar/el
In order to identify in more detail the Greek organic market, a number of
personality factors related to the organic products' purchasing decision were
used, such as: the ``exploratory food purchasing behaviour'', the ``quality'',
``price'', ``healthiness'' factors and the ``environmental and ethical concerns'',
measured on a five-point agreement scale (1: ``totally agree'' to 5: ``totally
disagree''). A quick clustering approach (SPSS 10.0, /-means clustering) was
selected, with the options of 3, 4 and 5 clusters, given the size of the buyers' sub-
group. The choice of four clusters (43 per cent, 22 per cent, 12 per cent and 23
per cent of the users) was finally preferred, due to the greater number of
discriminating between-cluster variables and the more straightforward profile
development. Discriminant analysis established clusters' accurate selection
(Wilks' lambda 0.005 and I=0.001), with 100 per cent of the cases correctly
classified (see Figure 1).
The discriminating (between the four clusters) power of the 53 experimental
variables can be seen in Table IX, together with a numerical description of the
four clusters (the result of the cross-tabulation between the 1: ``totally agree''
and 2: ``agree'' scores of the 53 experimental variables and the cluster-
membership variable). It is clear that the great majority of these variables (83
per cent) can be used as between-cluster discriminating factors, a fact that
increases their selection accuracy. The ``health'' and ``quality'' factors seem to
be the most powerful, followed by the ``exploratory buying behaviour'',
``environmental sensitivity'' and ``price sensitivity'' factors.
Then, the profile of the four clusters is developed based on these and the
statistically significant variables of Tables V, VII and VIII, seen in part F of
Table IX. It has to be noted that all clusters exhibit high percentages of (strong)
agreement regarding all the experimental statements and that the organic
products' purchase frequency does not statistically differ among the clusters:
.
C/usler 1 (4S er enl It is constituted by ``highly exploratory, married,
older female buyers'' (or simply ``explorers''). They exhibit the second
highest, after cluster 3, exploratory buying behaviour, the second
highest, after cluster 4, price sensitivity and their quality, healthiness
and ethical organic purchasing motives are average. Their overall good
The Greek
organic
consumer
755
opinion about the organic products is also average. Their choice of
superior healthiness and environmental friendliness as organic
purchasing reasons and their involvement in the purchasing process are
low. They are of higher education and higher income levels compared to
the non-buyers, yet, within the buyers' subgroup, they are considered of
average to loweducation. The percentage of females and married among
themis the second highest of all clusters. Finally they exhibit the highest
food purchase frequency (together with cluster 4) and weekdays' TV
use.
.
C/usler ? (?? er enl It is constituted by ``environmentally conscious,
very educated, young to middle-aged buyers'' (or simply ``greens''). They
exhibit the highest environmental consciousness, which is their only
organic purchase motive (``green'' consumers). They exhibit the lowest
percentages regarding their exploratory buying behaviour, the quality,
price and healthiness as purchasing motives, and their price sensitivity
and involvement in the purchasing process. Their overall good opinion
about the organic products is average. They are of higher education and
higher income levels compared with the non-buyers, yet, within the
buyers' sub-group, they are of the highest education of all. The
percentage of females and married among them is the lowest of all
clusters, almost equally dividing them between the two sexes and
marital statuses. They finally exhibit the lowest food purchase
frequency and very lowweekdays' TVuse.
Figure 1.
Graphical result of
discriminant analysis,
four-cluster solution
(n =130)
BFJ
104,9
756
Table IX.
Statistically significant
differences (one-way
ANOVA) between the
four buyer clusters
(n =130)
E
x
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a
b
o
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t
a
f
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o
d
p
r
o
d
u
c
t
,
c
o
n
c
e
r
n
i
n
g
:
*
*
2
1
5
.
4
7
.
1
3
.
7
3
I
t
s
n
u
t
r
i
t
i
o
n
a
l
v
a
l
u
e
*
1
1
.
8

7
1

4
1
1
.
1
4
I
t
s
c
a
l
o
r
i
c
c
o
n
t
e
n
t
*
1
3
.
7

o
7

1
1
1
.
1
5
T
h
e
a
d
d
i
t
i
v
e
s
i
t
c
o
n
t
a
i
n
s
*
1
1
.
8

o
7

1
1
1
.
1
6
I
t
s
p
r
o
d
u
c
t
i
o
n
m
e
t
h
o
d
s
*
5
.
9

4
?

9
1
1
.
1
7
I
t
s
p
r
i
c
e
*
2
3
.
5
3
.
8
o
7

1
2
9
.
6
8
I
f
i
t
s
c
o
n
t
e
n
t
i
n
c
h
e
m
i
c
a
l
r
e
s
i
d
u
a
l
s
i
s
h
i
g
h
n
.
s
.
1
9
.
6
3
0
.
8
6
4
.
3
2
9
.
6
8

(
u
a
/
/
l
v
.
T
c
m
e
,
l
h
e
m
c
s
l
/
m

c
r
l
a
n
l

u
a
/
/
l
v
c
/
a
/
c
c
d
/
s
/
l
s
.
9
A
p
p
e
a
r
a
n
c
e
n
.
s
.
4
7
.
1
7
.
7
5
0
3
7
1
0
S
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z
e
(
w
h
e
n
a
p
p
l
i
c
a
b
l
e
)
n
.
s
.
2
9
.
4
1
1
.
5
3
5
.
7
1
8
.
5
1
1
C
o
l
o
u
r
*
*
4
1
.
2
7
.
7
6
4

S
4
0
.
7
1
2
T
r
a
n
s
p
a
r
e
n
c
y
(
f
o
r
l
i
q
u
i
d
s
)
*
3
5
.
3
7
.
7
7
1

4
4
8
.
1
1
3
P
r
i
c
e
*
4
5
.
1
1
1
.
5
4
2
.
9
6
6

7
1
4
B
r
a
n
d
n
a
m
e
*
*
4
7
.
1
1
9
.
2
o
7

1
4
0
.
7
1
5
C
o
u
n
t
r
y
o
f
o
r
i
g
i
n
*
4
1
.
2
1
5
.
4
6
4

S
5
1
.
9
1
6
P
r
o
d
u
c
t
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o
n
a
r
e
a
*
3
9
.
2
1
1
.
5
6
4

S
5
5
.
6
1
7
N
u
t
r
i
t
i
o
n
a
l
v
a
l
u
e
*
5
2
.
9
3
.
8
6
4

S
4
4
.
4
1
8
P
r
o
d
u
c
t
i
o
n
m
e
t
h
o
d
*
4
3
.
1

6
4

S
4
4
.
4
1
9
T
a
s
t
e
*
*
5
2
.
9
2
6
.
9
7
8

6
5
9
.
3
2
0
S
t
r
u
c
t
u
r
e
*
5
6
.
9
7
.
7
7
1
.
4
7
4

1
2
1
F
r
e
s
h
n
e
s
s
*
6
0
.
8
1
9
.
2
6
4
.
3
7
4

1
2
2
H
e
a
l
t
h
i
n
e
s
s
*
5
8
.
8
1
5
.
4
6
4
.
3
7
7

8
2
3
N
a
t
u
r
a
l
n
e
s
s
*
5
8
.
8
1
5
.
4
6
4
.
3
8
1

o
2
4
E
n
v
i
r
o
n
m
e
n
t
a
l
f
r
i
e
n
d
l
i
n
e
s
s
*
5
6
.
9
1
1
.
5
7
8

6
6
3
2
5
T
r
a
d
i
t
i
o
n
a
l
i
m
a
g
e
*
4
7
.
1
1
1
.
5
7
1

4
5
5
.
6
(

c
n
l
/
n
u
e
d

The Greek
organic
consumer
757
E
x
p
l
o
r
e
r
s
(
4
2
%
)
`
`
G
r
e
e
n
s
'
'
(
2
2
%
)
M
o
t
i
v
a
t
e
d
(
1
2
%
)
P
r
i
c
e
-
s
e
n
s
i
t
i
v
e
(
2
3
%
)
V
a
r
i
a
b
l
e
s
S
i
g
.
S
t
r
o
n
g
l
y
a
g
r
e
e
(
%
)
S
t
r
o
n
g
l
y
a
g
r
e
e
(
%
)
S
t
r
o
n
g
l
y
a
g
r
e
e
(
%
)
S
t
r
o
n
g
l
y
a
g
r
e
e
(
%
)
C

l
r
/

e
.
T
c
m
e
,
/
l
/
s
/
m

c
r
l
a
n
l
l
h
a
l
l
h
e
/
c
c
d
l
e
a
l
e
t
e
r
v
d
a
v
/
s
.
2
6
N
o
t
e
x
p
e
n
s
i
v
e
*
1
9

6
7
.
7

1
1
.
1
2
7
C
h
e
a
p
n
.
s
.
1
1
.
8
3
.
8

3
.
7
2
8
`
`
v
a
l
u
e
f
o
r
m
o
n
e
y
'
'
p
r
i
c
e
d
n
.
s
.
3
9
.
2
3
0
.
8
5
0
3
7
2
9
I
a
l
w
a
y
s
c
o
m
p
a
r
e
t
h
e
p
r
i
c
e
d
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
c
e
s
w
h
e
n
c
h
o
o
s
i
n
g
a
n
o
u
t
l
e
t
n
.
s
.
2
9
.
4
3
0
.
8
1
4
.
3
3
7
3
0
I
a
l
w
a
y
s
p
a
y
a
t
t
e
n
t
i
o
n
t
o
t
h
e
p
r
i
c
e
r
e
d
u
c
t
i
o
n
s
i
n
s
i
d
e
t
h
e
o
u
t
l
e
t
s
*
*
2
5
.
5
2
3
.
1
2
1
.
4
4
4

4
D

H
e
a
/
l
h
.
T
c
m
e
,
/
l
/
s
/
m

c
r
l
a
n
l
l
h
a
l
l
h
e
/
c
c
d
l
e
a
l
e
t
e
r
v
d
a
v
/
s
.
3
1
R
i
c
h
i
n
v
i
t
a
m
i
n
s
*
2
3
.
5
1
5
.
4
1
0
0
8
5
.
2
3
2
R
i
c
h
i
n
p
r
o
t
e
i
n
s
*
2
3
.
5
1
1
.
5
7
8
.
6
8
o

?
3
3
R
i
c
h
i
n
f
i
b
r
e
*
1
5
.
7
1
1
.
5
9
?

9
8
1
.
5
3
4
N
u
t
r
i
t
i
o
n
a
l
*
2
3
.
5
1
1
.
5
9
?

9
9
2
.
6
3
5
P
o
o
r
i
n
c
a
l
o
r
i
e
s
*
1
5
.
7
3
.
8
1
0
0
8
5
.
2
3
6
H
e
l
p
i
n
g
m
e
c
o
n
t
r
o
l
m
y
w
e
i
g
h
t
*
9
.
8
3
.
8
1
0
0
9
2
.
6
3
7
P
o
o
r
i
n
f
a
t
*
1
9
.
6
7
.
7
1
0
0
9
6
.
3
3
8
H
e
l
p
i
n
g
m
e
c
o
n
t
r
o
l
m
y
s
t
r
e
s
s
*

9
?

9
9
2
.
6
3
9
H
e
l
p
i
n
g
m
e
i
n
m
y
d
a
y
*
5
.
9

9
?

9
9
2
.
6
4
0
H
e
l
p
i
n
g
m
e
r
e
l
a
x
*
2

1
0
0
8
8
.
9
4
1
K
e
e
p
i
n
g
m
e
a
w
a
k
e
*

9
?

9
8
8
.
9
4
2
M
a
k
i
n
g
m
y
m
o
o
d
*
3
.
9

9
?

9
8
8
.
9
E

E
l
h
/

s
.
T
c
m
e
,
/
l
/
s
/
m

c
r
l
a
n
l
l
h
a
l
l
h
e
/
c
c
d
l
e
a
l
e
t
e
r
v
d
a
v
.
4
3
H
a
s
i
t
s
c
o
u
n
t
r
y
o
f
o
r
i
g
i
n
c
l
e
a
r
l
y
w
r
i
t
t
e
n
o
n
t
h
e
l
a
b
e
l
*
*
2
9
.
4
3
0
.
8
9
?

9
4
0

7
4
4
I
t
i
s
p
r
o
d
u
c
e
d
i
n
a
n
e
n
v
i
r
o
n
m
e
n
t
a
l
l
y
f
r
i
e
n
d
l
y
w
a
y
*
3
9
.
2
4
?

S
1
0
0
3
7
4
5
I
t
i
s
p
a
c
k
e
d
i
n
r
e
c
y
c
l
e
d
m
a
t
e
r
i
a
l
*
3
7
.
3
4
?

S
1
0
0
4
0
.
7
4
6
D
o
e
s
n
o
t
c
o
n
t
a
i
n
c
h
e
m
i
c
a
l
r
e
s
i
d
u
a
l
s
*
*
4
1
.
2
5
0
1
0
0
o
1

9
4
7
I
a
m
a
l
w
a
y
s
v
e
r
y
w
e
l
l
i
n
f
o
r
m
e
d
a
b
o
u
t
t
h
e
a
c
i
d
r
a
i
n
p
r
o
b
l
e
m
n
.
s
.
1
1
.
8
3
.
8
6
4
.
3
1
8
.
5
4
8
I
a
m
a
l
w
a
y
s
v
e
r
y
w
e
l
l
i
n
f
o
r
m
e
d
a
b
o
u
t
t
h
e
w
a
t
e
r
p
o
l
l
u
t
i
o
n
*
*
?
1

6
3
.
8
7
1

4
1
4
.
8
4
9
I
a
m
a
l
w
a
y
s
v
e
r
y
w
e
l
l
i
n
f
o
r
m
e
d
a
b
o
u
t
t
h
e
o
z
o
n
e
p
r
o
b
l
e
m
n
.
s
.
1
o

7
1
5
.
4
7
8
.
6
1
4
.
8
5
0
I
a
m
a
l
w
a
y
s
v
e
r
y
w
e
l
l
i
n
f
o
r
m
e
d
a
b
o
u
t
t
h
e
n
u
c
l
e
a
r
w
a
s
t
e
s
p
r
o
b
l
e
m
*
1
S

7
7
.
7
7
1

4
1
1
.
1
(

c
n
l
/
n
u
e
d

Table IX.
BFJ
104,9
758
E
x
p
l
o
r
e
r
s
(
4
2
%
)
`
`
G
r
e
e
n
s
'
'
(
2
2
%
)
M
o
t
i
v
a
t
e
d
(
1
2
%
)
P
r
i
c
e
-
s
e
n
s
i
t
i
v
e
(
2
3
%
)
V
a
r
i
a
b
l
e
s
S
i
g
.
S
t
r
o
n
g
l
y
a
g
r
e
e
(
%
)
S
t
r
o
n
g
l
y
a
g
r
e
e
(
%
)
S
t
r
o
n
g
l
y
a
g
r
e
e
(
%
)
S
t
r
o
n
g
l
y
a
g
r
e
e
(
%
)
5
1
I
a
m
a
l
w
a
y
s
v
e
r
y
w
e
l
l
i
n
f
o
r
m
e
d
a
b
o
u
t
t
h
e
w
o
r
l
d
o
v
e
r
p
o
p
u
l
a
t
i
o
n
n
.
s
.
1
7
.
6
1
5
.
4
6
4
.
3
1
1
.
1
5
2
W
o
r
l
d
p
o
l
l
u
t
i
o
n
i
s
a
n
e
x
t
r
e
m
e
l
y
w
o
r
r
y
i
n
g
f
a
c
t
*
*
3
1
.
4
4
?

S
8
o

7
2
9
.
6
5
3
I
r
e
f
r
a
i
n
f
r
o
m
p
u
r
c
h
a
s
i
n
g
s
p
e
c
i
f
i
c
p
r
o
d
u
c
t
s
f
o
r
e
c
o
l
o
g
i
c
a
l
r
e
a
s
o
n
s
*
7

8
7
.
7
o
0

O
l
h
e
r
s
l
a
l
/
s
l
/

a
/
/
v
s
/
g
n
/
/
/

a
n
l
t
a
r
/
a
/
/
e
s

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
(
u
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y
)
*
*
2
3
.
5
4
?

S
2
1
.
4
1
4
.
8
M
a
r
i
t
a
l
s
t
a
t
u
s
(
m
a
r
r
i
e
d
)
*
*
9
2
.
2
6
1
.
5
8
5
.
7
9
?

6
G
e
n
d
e
r
(
m
a
l
e
)
*
*
1
5
.
7
4
6

?
2
1
.
4
1
1
.
1
F
o
o
d
p
u
r
c
h
a
s
e
f
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y
(
o
n
c
e
/
w
e
e
k
)
*
*
6
6

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Table IX.
The Greek
organic
consumer
759
.
C/usler S (1? er enl It is constituted by the most ``motivated, very
positive towards the organic idea, young to middle-aged buyers'' (or
simply ``motivated''. They exhibit the highest of all clusters for health
and quality consciousness, the most profound exploratory organic
purchasing behaviour and the lowest price sensitivity. As expected,
their overall good opinion about the organic products (regarding their
healthiness, residual and additive-free qualities, nutrients, value, and
children's diet suitability) is the highest of all clusters, together with
their choice of superior healthiness and environmental friendliness as
major purchasing reasons. In addition, they are the most involved of all
in the organic purchasing process. They are of higher education and
higher income levels compared with the non-buyers, yet, within the
buyers' subgroup, they are considered of average to low education and
the percentage of males and married among them is the closest of all
clusters to buyers' average. They finally exhibit a low food purchase
frequency and weekdays' TVuse.
.
C/usler 4 (?S er enl. It is constituted by ``quality and health conscious
but price-sensitive, low educated, married, young female buyers'' (or
simply ``price sensitive''). They exhibit the second highest health and
quality consciousness and the highest price sensitivity. Their overall
good opinion about the organic products is average, together with their
choice of the superior healthiness and environmental friendliness as
organic purchasing reasons and their involvement in the purchasing
process. They are of higher education and higher income levels
compared with the non-buyers, yet, within the buyers' subgroup, they
are considered of low education. The percentage of females and married
among them is the highest of all clusters. They exhibit the highest food
purchase frequency and very high weekdays' TVuse.
Discussion
All the above findings are in line with the organic international literature
presented herein. The major discriminating factor between all consumer types
regarding organic products, namely the unaware, the aware non-buyers and
the buyers, is their education status. Apparently, education is the key word that
can turn an ``unaware of the organic idea'' consumer to a highly motivated
organic supporter. This conclusion is consistent with the findings by Stare
(1993), Shine el a/ (1997) and Trognon el a/ (1999). Other important
discriminating variables are: the place of residence between aware and
unaware consumers (in line with Trognon el a/, 1999); the income level and diet
habits between buyers and non-buyers; and the frequency of food purchase at
supermarkets and newspaper purchase among all three subgroups.
The organic buyers in Greece appear to be very ``traditional'' in terms of their
cuisine and restaurant selection. The Greek country-of-origin characteristic of a
food product seems a powerful component of its marketing mix, since the
Greek organic buyers exhibit a very strong ethnocentric tendency. These
BFJ
104,9
760
consumers do not have a particularly innovative behaviour regarding their
food selection, preparation and purchase. An interesting extension here would
be to test the uni-dimensionality of the relevant statements used in Table IX for
each of the constructs. This would provide a more interesting insight and could
be used to evaluate whether certain buyer clusters are more traditional,
ethnocentric etc.
In addition, the Greek organic buyers appear indifferent towards
advertisements, whose messages they seem to mistrust. The fact that they
sought information on organic products mainly from (possibly misleading)
sources such as their friends and family and the almost complete lack of any
organised state or private promotional campaign (a fact also identified by
earlier pan-European studies; see, for example, Michelsen el a/, 1999) should
alarm us. The responsibility to educate the public is a complicated and
corporate task of the state, producers, firms, retailers involved and
specialists, whose absence is a common finding in many nutrition and health
surveys of the EU public (see, for example, Shine el a/, 1997 and Lappalainen
el a/, 1998).
Despite the declared high awareness of the organic concept, the fact that
almost half of the aware consumers could not give its exact definition and
another 25 per cent were totally mislead is discouraging. An interesting
analysis here would be to examine the exact distribution of that 25 per cent
among the three subgroups. Among the buyers, for example, 32 per cent seem
confused as to the discrimination between the organic and the conventional
food and 16 per cent are unable to explain the difference between them. This
conclusion, in line with earlier surveys of more ``mature'' organic markets (see,
for example, Peattie, 1990), indicates that the Greek organic market, although
more mature five to eight years ago, is still lagging a decade behind the rest of
the developed organic markets (in terms of size, for example, it is 12 years
behind the US organic market). An additional indication of the lack of real
awareness, in spite of the high percentages stated, is the correlation between
awareness and proximity to the organic producing areas of the country; and all
this despite the previous finding that education is the key factor that
differentiates the users fromthe non-buyers.
It is also very important to stress that the major cause of organic products'
non-purchase is their very low availability in the Greek market, directly stated
by the non-buyers and in line with previous Greek surveys. Indirectly, the same
holds for the buyers through their stated low purchase frequency at all the
usual organic retail outlets and their confusion regarding the almost non-
existence in the Greek market of organic branded products and well known
organic brand names. This is despite the fact that the biggest value of an eco-
label is information. According to Lipson (1998):
. . . the real path-breaking message of the organic label is that it stood for the ability of the
consumer to reliably know how a given item of food is produced. This is a subtle quality of
the organic label, and not an overt part of its marketing approach . . . .
The Greek
organic
consumer
761
The problem in Greece is not only the very limited number of organic outlets-
with, for example, only 14 specialty shops, seven open markets and only one
major retail chain selling organic products for 3.5 million consumers of Athens
in 1999 but also the very limited variety of the fresh and branded organic
products offered, especially in relation to demand. This factor was also
identified by Zotos el a/ (1999), as one of the major organic purchase-hindering
causes.
The second major cause of non-preference has been organic products' high
price, again directly stated by the non-buyers as well as 44.6 per cent of the
buyers, among which a separate cluster of price-sensitive consumers is
identified. Producers' and (especially the big) food enterprises' responsibility
for high prices and for lack of brand names, is profound. On the other hand, the
low demand due to low awareness and limited availability keeps prices high,
starting the vicious circle all over again.
Conclusions
With the present study an attempt is made to describe the existing situation
regarding Greek consumers' perceptions about organic products. It seems that
the Greek organic market advances from a very early to a more ``mature'' stage,
as is indicated by the decreasing importance of ``price'' as an organic purchase-
adverse factor and the higher percentage of scheme's declared awareness,
compared with the findings of earlier surveys. As we move from lower to
higher social images (education, central place of residence, income, newspaper
purchase as opposed to TV use etc.), a clear distinction can be made between
three consumer subgroups:
(1) the unaware (18.5 per cent);
(2) the aware buyers (8.1 per cent); and
(3) the aware non-buyers (73.1 per cent).
A series of questions are commonly asked of all three subgroups, a number of
socio-demographic, dietary and food purchase behavioural characteristics to be
directly comparable. A number of additional questions aimed to offer more
insight into each type separately, revealing the reason for its distinctive
behaviour regarding organic products. It has been possible, hence, to develop a
detailed and comparable image of the three organic consumer subgroups of the
Greek market.
Given that the focus of the present study is on the aware organic buyers, and
based on the five major organic purchase motive groups identified in the
literature, we tried to further segment this 8.1 per cent of consumers who
constitute the real organic market in Greece. The fact that 80 per cent of the
experimental variables are statistically significant proves their accurate
selection and validity in exploring organic purchase behaviour. Four clusters
are identified: the motivated, the price sensitive, the explorers and the ``greens'',
making our knowledge on the organic buyer clearer and complete.
BFJ
104,9
762
Low real awareness, consumers' contradictory perceptions, lack of any
educational/communication activity, lowavailability and high prices have been
identified as the major causes of the observed low penetration of the organic
products in the Greek market. The fact that quality, healthiness, tastiness and
appearance are not included in the organic product disadvantages stated by the
larger subgroup of the aware buyers is the most encouraging output of our
survey. The problems of Greek organic agriculture in the market do not stem
from the product er se, but rather are of a third-party nature and, thus, are
reversible provided there is open-minded co-operation of all the parties
involved. For the organic sector to achieve the predicted level of growth, a high
degree of confidence building is required, due to the perceived financial, social
and psychological barriers to conversion. The right policy signals from
government and other policy-related institutions are required, in addition to
market signals from consumers and the food industry, access to information
and the removal of all institutional barriers or antagonisms. A further
segmentation of the aware non-buyer subgroup in terms of the same five
organic purchase behaviour variables will provide a more detailed picture of
the non-buyers, further explain the organic rejection reasons revealed in the
present study and possibly identify potential organic product buyers.
Note
1. All data from national sources, reported in Michelsen el a/. (1999).
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