15th Congress Proceedings
Buying Organic Food In France: Shopping Habits And Trust
In this paper we attempt to compare the responses of consumers and professionals to questions related to organic food retailing, in order to highlight the differences and the similarities of viewpoints between them and to understand the links between consumer perception of organic food and the sales channel. In order to do this, we analyse the results of three studies, two of them conducted with consumers, the third one with professionals. The first study deals with the links between consumer trust orientations and the frequentation of the different sales channels where organic food can be found. The results of this study conducted in France and Germany show that consumers in organic food stores put trust in their store but are neither the heaviest nor the most trusting consumers. Consumers in hypermarkets or supermarkets do not really trust the store, and only really trust the label. In the second study, respondents were asked what their preferred outlet for organic products would be and why. Results show that organic food consumers like being something more than an anonymous consumer when shopping. They seem to appreciate markets particularly, and appear to attach no particular value to organic food stores, nor to the acknowledged greater convenience of shopping in supermarkets. This study also raises interesting questions relating to the experience of purchasing in terms of shop location, image and atmosphere, and factors that contribute to consumer trust in organic foods. The third study is based upon two surveys (autumn 2003 and autumn 2004) among organic food stores in France, on market development and on actors’ perception of their situation and their customers. According to shopkeepers, customers of organic food stores are looking more for quality and competence, than for attractive prices, and attach more and more value to traceability and trustworthiness. This paper shows important similarities of viewpoints between consumers and organic food stores shopkeepers, and gives researchers and professionals a better insight into the links between consumer perception of organic food and the sales channel.