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The impact of organic certification and country of origin on consumer food choice in developed and emerging economies

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The effects of organics and country of origin (COO) on consumers’ food choices have mostly been investigated separately. In order to investigate the joint effect of these two credence quality cues and when they influence choice, a choice-based conjoint (CBC) experiment was conducted in Germany, France, Denmark, China and Thailand. In each country, a sample of about 1000 consumers participated after being screened for responsibility for their household’s shopping, consumption of the case product, and knowledge of organic food. A full factorial design with four COOs, three different organic label conditions and three price levels gave 36 different choice options. They were bundled in 12 choice sets of three alternatives, which were presented in random order. The product was either drinking milk or pork chops (random assignment). The study revealed a general preference for organics over conventional and for domestic over imported products, with exceptions to the latter in emerging markets. Among imported foods, there is a tendency to prefer foods from economically developed over less developed countries, also in the two Asian countries. Adding consistent quality cues have a decreasing marginal effect, but a favourable cue can compensate for an unfavourable one. The extent to which consumer choice is influenced by organic labels and COO depends on environmental concern, trust in countries as producers of organic food, and ethnocentrism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Pages (from-to)10-30
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Country of origin, Discrete choice analysis, Economic development, Latent class analysis, Organic food

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