Preferences and willingness to pay more for organic foods by Tennessee consumers

Kofi Baryeh, Tennessee State University


This study involved an assessment of the preferences of Tennessee consumers and their willingness to pay more for organic food. It specifically assesses the knowledge of consumers regarding organic food. It establishes the trend in the consumption of organic food and determines factors that influence consumers' willingness to pay more for them. Most of the respondents had a fair knowledge of what organic food was. Sixty three percent indicated they would recognize the USDA organic food label if they saw it. Seventy nine percent were aware organic food is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides while 69.10% agreed genetically engineered ingredients are not allowed in organic food. However consumers had little knowledge on the production aspect of organic food since 67.90% of them were not familiar with issues related to the certification of organic food production. The trend analysis showed most of the respondents had never purchased organic food before. The study found 'taste of food', 'environmental concerns', 'freshness of food', 'food safety issues' and 'nutrition' to be factors organic food purchasers consider when purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables. These factors were more important to purchaser of organic food than they were to non purchasers. The price of food was more important to non purchasers of organic food than it was to those who did purchase it. Non purchasers also cited high prices as the main reason they do not purchase organic food. Approximately twenty four percent of the total respondents were not willing to pay more for organic food while most of them (75.3%) were willing to pay more. The income category '$30,000.00–$75,000.00' and 'Environmental concern' variables were found to be the factors that effectively determine willingness to pay more for organic food. The future plan of most organic food purchasers was either to increase or maintain its consumption. None of them intended to reduce or stop its purchase. The main challenge organic food shoppers faced when shopping organic was a lack of variety in organic food offering.

Subject Area

Food Science|Behavioral psychology|Agriculture

Recommended Citation

Kofi Baryeh, "Preferences and willingness to pay more for organic foods by Tennessee consumers" (2015). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1599449.