Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau FiBL, 5070 Frick, Schweiz

Swiss organic barometer: determinants of organic food buying behaviour

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.

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