The power of suggestion on consumers´preferences for organic produce

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för nationalekonomi med statistik

Author: Amanda Sundberg; [2015-07-03]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: Conventional production of fruits and vegetables entail the use of pesticides and other poisonous chemicals. Producers use these poisonous chemicals in order to make the crops more profitable by for example making them more resistant to insects, in order to acquire a faster growth rate or to obtain larger crops. This results in negative effects on the environment as well as consumers health. The extent of these negative effects is beginning to receive more attention from the public. Organic production is the opposite of conventional production, where the use of pesticides, genetically modified crops and other poisonous chemicals are banned. The negative effects on consumers' health and the environment are in organic production greatly decreased, however, for the farmer the cost of production and the risks are increased. Organic production therefore is less preferred by producers while becoming increasingly demanded by the educated public. The result is an area of interest where consumer knowledge is often shallow and it is easy for producers to make claims for which they may not have evidence to support. (Aertsens et al 2010) For these reasons, the importance of mindful consumer behavior when buying fruits and vegetables is becoming more important. Inspite of this, the increasing attention and thereby more studies done on the subject, researchers' opinions of how to increase the consumption of organic products are still varied. One of many factors debated is how to educate the public and moreover, how much education is needed. (Laroche, Bergeron, & Barbaro-Forleo, 2001). The aim of this paper is therefore to examine if a small reminder/ educational quote is sufficient to change consumer behavior in regards of preferring the more organic products. The product chosen for the experiment is an apple due to the fact that fruits and vegetables account for 10 percent of Swedish consumers’ spending. The country of interest is Sweden due to the fact that the country is, relative to many other countries, well acquainted with organic produce, where the consumption of organics is increasing yearly by approximately 4%. (Fagerberg et al. 2014) The experiment was carried out through a survey, which was handed out at different locations in the Vastra Gotaland region in Sweden. The respondents were chosen randomly at three different locations. The results of this experiment show that in similarity to past experiments, consumers are willing to pay a little more for organic products. A deviation, which has not yet been examined, is the object of this thesis, examining the power of suggestion on consumer behavior. The findings of the experiment were that a small reminder of what organic production implies on average has no significant effect on changing consumer behavior. However, in a few circumstances some significance was obtained.

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