Eating 'Green': Motivations behind organic food consumption in Australia

Lockie, Stewart, Lyons, Kristen, Lawrence, Geoffrey and Mummery, Kerry (2002) Eating 'Green': Motivations behind organic food consumption in Australia. Sociologia Ruralis, 42 1: 23-40. doi:10.1111/1467-9523.00200

Author Lockie, Stewart
Lyons, Kristen
Lawrence, Geoffrey
Mummery, Kerry
Title Eating 'Green': Motivations behind organic food consumption in Australia
Journal name Sociologia Ruralis   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0038-0199
Publication date 2002-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1467-9523.00200
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 42
Issue 1
Start page 23
End page 40
Total pages 18
Editor Henk de Haan
Place of publication UK
Publisher Blackwells
Language eng
Subject C1
370107 Social Change
290102 Food Engineering
750405 Environmental ethics
220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts - General
Abstract Central to the development of green lifestyles is the consumption of foods that by dint of their status as chemical-free, locally produced and/or free of genetically modified ingredients, reduce the environmental impact of food provision. Yet there are many other factors, such as health concerns, that may also encourage the consumption of 'green' foods. This paper explores the ways in which Australian consumers construct organic food-a sector of the food industry that is currently growing at between 20 and 50 percent per annum but is struggling to keep up with rising consumer demand. In order to examine the significance of 'green' signifiers in the consumption practices of Australian consumers a series of focus group interviews and a national consumer survey were conducted. These examined both those characteristics of food that were valued in general, and those meanings that were associated with organic food in particular. In very general terms, analysis reveals that while consumers believed organic foods to be healthy and environmentally sound-both of which were considered desirable-these characteristics were subsumed by an overarching concern with convenience. This does not mean that consumers did not hold genuinely positive environmental attitudes. Rather, it reflects a range of contradictory beliefs and practices that appeared to derive from the discursive conflict between conventional and organic food industries over environmental, health and safety claims. The paper concludes by identifying the barriers and opportunities for expanding the organic industry in Australia in the context of the ways organics is constructed by consumers.
Keyword Sociology
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 179 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 03:36:56 EST