Purchasing decisions have a decisive influence on the demand for organic food. In November 2015, the «Biobarometer Schweiz» study (organic barometer Switzerland) surveyed consumers’ purchasing behaviour, using a standardized questionnaire. The aim of the survey was to investigate the factors determining organic food buying behaviour and to determine which aspects are relevant in consumer communication. The study found that Swiss consumers of organic products are significantly more likely to be female, have a higher level of education and in the majority live in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Consumers who frequently purchase organic products self-identify as being environmentally-friendly and are conscientious about eating a healthy diet and consuming little meat. In addition to nutritional motives, their purchasing behaviour is primarily influenced by altruistic motives; they also value the organic products’ naturalness and wish to avoid pesticide residues in food. In contrast, within each of the consumer groups, the importance of flavour and aroma for food purchasing decisions increases compared to other motives with decreasing levels of organic consumption. In addition to the sensory aspect of organic food, communication should primarily focus on aspects such as naturalness and environmental compatibility. The Biobarometer Schweiz survey will be repeated at regular intervals in future and will serve to identify changes in consumer trends.
Policies to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are more effective and more efficient if they are set at the regional level and not at the level of individual farms. This can help achieve climate targets.
Global food availability is expected to remain stable in the medium term. Food security challenges in Switzerland include the decline in agricultural land area per capita, higher incidence of extreme weather events and increased pressure from pests.
Different cultural backgrounds lead to different uptake of biodiversity agri-environmental schemes at the inner-Swiss French-German language border. Economic policy incentives could mitigate culture-driven behavioral differences.