Exploring organic food consumption, within the context of Uruguay

Gonzalez-Triay, Magdalen (2022) Exploring organic food consumption, within the context of Uruguay. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/9L4P7F2M

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Food consumption has become a significant global issue due to the negative consequences that conventional food systems have on the environment. Therefore, there is a pressing need to encourage more sustainable food consumption choices – such as organic food – as a way of reducing the environmental impact of contemporary food diets. There is a lack of understanding about what drives Uruguayan consumers to buy organic food. This study aims to understand the underlying motivation of Uruguayan, regular, organic food consumers using the theoretical lens of personal values. Drawing on Schwartz’s (1992) theory of human values, the research examines which personal values influence organic food consumption in Uruguay. The study also explores the meaning of the term ‘organic,’ perceived benefits, value priorities and value orientations of those who regularly consume organic food in Uruguay. The research adopts a concurrent mixed-method design, that is predominantly qualitative to fulfil the objectives of this study. The qualitative strand explores, through thematic analysis, data from 38 in-depth interviews. The quantitative strand applies Schwartz’s (1992) Portrait Value Questionnaire (PVQ-RR) to measure these organic food consumers’ personal values. A pilot study of five participants was carried out, using the PVQ-RR Spanish version, which had been previously validated and tested for accuracy of language. Special attention was given to the linguistic and cultural translation of the different value constructs, and the linguistic consistency of the value scale was checked within the pilot study. The findings reveal that ‘organic’ food is synonymous with ‘free-from synthetic chemicals’ and associated with ‘natural,’ ‘safe,’ ‘healthy,’ ‘living food,’ ‘authentic,’ ‘environmentally friendly,’ and ‘tastier.’ The qualitative data revealed that ‘food safety’ and health benefits are the main drivers of organic food consumption. Elevated levels of ‘distrust’ in relation to pesticide residue on conventionally grown food is evident among the sample, which drives organic food consumption. The PVQ-RR survey results revealed that Benevolence, Universalism and Self-Direction are the main value types endorsed by organic consumers. The in-depth analysis revealed that consumers’ have different underlying motivations for ‘health,’ which are not always driven by ‘Security’ values but could also be underpinned by Benevolence or Self-Transcendence. This presents a challenge in the context of organic food when trying to fit the ‘health’ value within only the Security value type of Schwartz’s circumplex model. The study contributes by highlighting that the measurement of ‘health’ as a value item within the PVQ-RR scale seems to be problematic within the context of organic food. This suggests a re-examination of the location of ‘health’ within Schwartz values circumplex and the measurement of other facets of health. The study offers a theoretical contribution, as it suggests that the PVQ scale is insufficient to understand the different value priorities and orientations across distinct types of consumers in specific consumption contexts. Five types of organic consumers were identified based on their concerns, underlying motivations, value priorities and lifestyle. This understanding is helpful for policymakers and marketers when developing communication messages to target different consumer groups. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the recommendations to promote organic food and target different consumer groups more effectively. It also provides managerial implications to continue the current levels of trust in organic. These findings can be used by governmental institutions to understand organic consumers and grocery retailers to regain consumers’ trust and promote organic consumption.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Hanmer-Lloyd, Stuartshlloyd@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Ward, Philippapward@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/staff/profile/philippa-ward/
Uncontrolled Keywords: Organic food consumption; Personal values; Value priorities; Value orientation; Sustainable food
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5437-5444 Purchasing. Selling. Sales personnel. Sales executives
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture > SB175 Food crops
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 04 May 2023 10:29
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 10:29
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/12685

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