Department of Management

Consumers' evaluation of imported organic food products: The role of geographical distance

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Country-of-origin (COO) effects and consumer evaluation of organic food products are rarely studied in combination.
The aim of this study was therefore to investigate organic consumers’ preferences for imported organic food products
from different origins and the underlying reasons for these preferences, including how consumers’ COO preferences
depend on the geographical distance to the COO. We employed a multi-method, qualitative approach consisting of instore
interviews (N = 255) and focus groups (six, N = 38) with organic consumers in three German cities located in the
north (Hamburg, close to Denmark), west (Münster, close to The Netherlands) and south (Munich, close to Austria).
The interviews confirmed the well-known preference for domestic (also for) organic products. It also revealed a
preference for geographically close countries as origin for imported organic products. The main reason for this
preference is the perceived negative environmental impact of transportation, followed by trust in the country and
general country image. Implications for exporters of organic food products are discussed, underlining the importance
of building trust and supporting a positive country image, especially in geographically close export markets.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAppetite
Volume130
ISSN0195-6663
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018

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