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Various food safety incidents and
environmental issues have increased
worldwide consumers’ concern
about the quality, safety, and environmental-friendliness
of foods (Central News Agency, 2013; Hsu &
Chen, 2014; Liu, Pieniak, &
Verbeke, 2013). This phenomenon has caused consumers to be
more aware of possible pesticide residues in
conventional foods, the overuse of pesticides and
chemical materials harmful to the environment, and the credence
of production method (Fernqvist & Ekelund,
2014; Yee, Yeung, & Morris,
2005), which in turn raises questions about modern
agricultural practices as well as stimulates the demand for organic
foods (Mondelaers, Verbeke, & Van
Huylenbroeck, 2009). In an investigation of
Taiwanese organic food consumers, Chen (2007) attempted to define
organic foods as foods that are not genetically modified
and are produced in a natural way and specifically
without the use of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and
fertilizers. Consumers tend to consider organic foods healthier, safer, and
less damaging to the environment than conventionally grown foods (Mondelaers et
al., 2009; Rimal, Moon, & Balasubramanian, 2006). In response to the demand
for organic foods, organic farming which aims to reflect the profound
interrelationship that exists between farm biota, its production, and the overall
environment, as well as respects the natural cycles of an ecosystem thus has
been promoted in many countries (European Commission, 2013). In Taiwan, the
area of organic farmland increased from 1018 ha in 2002 to 5015 ha in 2011,
indicating a rapid compound annual growth rate of 19% (Taiwan Organic Information
Portal, 2013). The progressive development of the organic food sector in Taiwan
reveals the need for better understanding of Taiwanese organic food
consumption.

The
topic of organic consumption motives has been widely discussed by previous
studies. Michaelidou and Hassan (2010) pointed out that consumers’ motives to
purchase organic products include social/cultural reasons (e.g., social image),
economic reasons (e.g., price), product reasons (e.g., quality), and personal reasons
(e.g., health and safety). In particular, concern for health, food safety,
taste, environmental protection, animal welfare, and support for local economy,
have been identified as driving forces to the choice of organic foods (Hamm
& Gronefeld, 2004; Hughner, McDonagh, Prothero, Shultz, & Stanton,
2007; Schleenbecker & Hamm, 2013; Yiridoe, Bonti-Ankomah, & Martin,
2005). Hemmerling, Hamm, and Spiller (2015) conducted a literature review of
organic food consumption and concluded that health, taste, safety, and
environmental protection are the main purchasing motives for organic foods. In
Yiridoe et al.’s (2005) review of consumer preference towards organic foods,
concern for human health and safety is also identified as a key factor
motivating consumers to buy organic foods.

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