Organic purchasing motivations and attitudes: Are they ethical?

M. G. McEachern, P. McClean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

245 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the increased documentation of consumers’ purchases of organic food products, the motivations for such purchases are relatively under-researched. An individual’s choice of food products can be linked clearly to ethical stances, but ethical choices can also vary from individual to individual, from industry to industry and among countries. Consequently, this paper investigates the degree to which ethical beliefs influence Scottish consumer perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and purchasing decisions, with regard to organic dairy products. Consumer purchasing motivations are revealed as being self-interest-centred (i.e. better tasting, safer), rather than altruistic. Therefore, to achieve future market development, organic dairy producers cannot rely upon the minority of hardcore green consumers to sustain growth, but must aim to modify perceptions and attitudes of larger consumer segments by implementing educational marketing campaigns that reinforce the ethical, environmental and societal benefits of organic production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes


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