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Ohio Organic and Local Food Consumers. Molly Bean Smith 2006 OH Fruit & Vegetable Congress January 16, 2006 Columbus, OH. Contact Information. Molly Bean Smith, Research Associate 254 Agricultural Administration Bldg. 2120 Fyffe Road, Columbus, OH 43202 E-mail: [email protected]

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Ohio organic and local food consumers l.jpg

Ohio Organic and Local Food Consumers

Molly Bean Smith

2006 OH Fruit & Vegetable Congress

January 16, 2006

Columbus, OH


Contact information l.jpg
Contact Information

  • Molly Bean Smith, Research Associate

    • 254 Agricultural Administration Bldg.

    • 2120 Fyffe Road, Columbus, OH 43202

    • E-mail: [email protected]

    • Telephone: 614-688-8798

    • Website: www.sri.osu.edu


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Why understand consumption patterns?

  • Adoption of innovations/alternatives requires it

  • Consumption patterns have the ability to shape the food system

    • Changing demand affects the success/failure of products, sectors, and firms

      • Organics are a beneficiary – USDA reports that the organic and specialty crop market is growing by 20% each year

      • Farmer’s markets and CSA is growing


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How do consumers make food purchasing decisions?

  • Psychological factors, personal preferences & sensory attributes (like taste)

  • Expediency factors, such as price, access and convenience

  • Lifestyle Factors, e.g Health and food safety, environment, animal welfare, local community, Equity and justice (for example, Fair Trade products)


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Research Context: Organic Industrialization & Local

  • Growth in organic market has led to some “industrialization” of organic production

    • Large scale production, large-scale processing

    • Cascadian Farms, store brand organic, etc.

  • “Industrialization” challenges the traditional link between organic and local production

    • Emerging question: How do local producers, particularly organic producers, adapt to market with lower cost industrial organic products?


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Goal of The Presentation

  • Profile characteristics of consumers with varying levels of interest in the local and organic attributes

  • Information may be helpful for marketing purposes

    • Improve our ability to describe this emerging market and the consumers within it

    • Identify new opportunities for growing the alternative food system


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Data Sources

  • OH Survey of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Issues

    • Biennial Mail Survey of Rural & Urban Ohioans

    • Funded by College of FAES, OSU Extension, OARDC, variety of faculty and external partners

    • Response rate ~56+ percent (N>1,800)






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Typology Background

  • Two dimensional typology based on level of importance attributed to foods being locally grown or produced and labeled organic (1=not important; 7=very important)

  • Potential benefits of typologies:

    • Patterns and characteristics of patterns

    • Better understanding of what drives certain consumption patterns

    • Assist growers and retailers in understanding and developing their market

    • May help to increase the consumption or purchasing of particular foods

    • Assist in development of alternatives



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Labeling Consumer Types

  • Disinclined (19.2%)—rate both local and organic as not important factors when making food purchases

  • Locally inclined (20.2%)—rate local as important, but not organic

  • Organically inclined (5.6%)—rate organic as important, but not local

  • Moderately inclined (35.7%)—rate organic and local as somewhat important considerations

  • Dual inclined (19.3%)—rate organic and local both as very important factors



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Willingness to Pay More(% indicating WTP 10% or more


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Importance of intrinsic and expediency food considerations by type (1 to 7)

*F-test significant at .05 level


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Observations on the Typology by type (1 to 7)

  • Organic group

    • Relatively high food safety concerns

    • Less strong affinity/trust/ties for farmers/farming

  • Local group

    • Many attributes consistent with what might be expected

    • Strong ties to farming


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Observations (cont.) by type (1 to 7)

  • Disinclined

    • Many attributes consistent with what might be expected

  • Moderately inclined

    • Many attributes middling between disinclined, organic, and local

    • Potential target audience to introduce to alternative food systems – note this group may need more convincing of the benefits


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Observations (cont.) by type (1 to 7)

  • Dual Inclined

    • Food safety is an important consideration

    • Health consciousness high

    • Very supportive of Ohio Ag./Farmers

    • Not everything we expected: Contrary to class expectations – tend to be older, less educated and report lower income

    • Self-reported behavioral cross-checks validate this as most motivated alternative food system type

      • Alternative possibility, confusion about the meaning of organic


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Final Thoughts by type (1 to 7)

  • This is a complex issue requiring addt’l analysis to assess the strength of relationships

  • Local only has a constituency out there

  • Organic has a following, albeit a smaller one

  • There are consumers interested in both attributes, but further examination of this group is warranted – for example, what takes precedence for this group – support for farming or food safety concerns?

  • Opportunity to expand market by reaching out to moderately inclined


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Next steps in the Program by type (1 to 7)

  • Continued refinement of the typology and analysis of motivated consumer survey

  • Current through early 2006 – series of focus groups gauging interest in local/organic foods with different socio-economic groups


Questions see following websites http ohiosurvey osu edu http sri osu edu l.jpg

Questions? by type (1 to 7)See following websites:http://Ohiosurvey.osu.eduhttp://SRI.osu.edu


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