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Understanding the Antecedents of Organic Food Purchases: The Important Roles of Beliefs, Subjective Norms, and Identity Expressiveness

by Li Bai 1,2, Mingliang Wang 1 and Shunlong Gong 3,*
1
School of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Jilin University, 5988 Renmin Street, Changchun 130022, China
2
Key Laboratory of Bionic Engineering, Ministry of Education, Jilin University, 5988 Renmin Street, Changchun 130022, China
3
School of Management, Jilin University, 5988 Renmin Street, Changchun 130022, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3045; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113045
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 19 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 29 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behaviour regarding Organic Food)
China is expected to become an increasingly important market for global organic food producers. This study aims to obtain a new and deeper understanding of how various antecedents affect organic food purchase behavior. Here, a survey based on validated measures is designed, and a total of 1750 consumers are interviewed. In addition to traditionally held beliefs concerning organic food, three unique perspectives, i.e., that organic foods are “luxuries for the rich”, “upscale”, and the objects of “marketing hype”, are confirmed for the first time. Furthermore, the influence of subjective norms on purchase intention is verified to be completely mediated by purchase attitude, suggesting that up to now, the role of social norms may have been simplified, and even underestimated by marketing researchers. Additionally, for the first time, identity expressiveness is confirmed to play a minor but significant role in purchase intention. Perceived trustworthiness is also confirmed to be the important predictor of purchase intention. Finally, household income is not only the second most important predicator of purchase intention, but it is also the most important predictor of actual purchase. These findings will be valuable for marketing scholars and all stakeholders in the organic food industry, particularly international agribusinesses that are wishing to enter the Chinese market. View Full-Text
Keywords: organic food; consumer behavior; beliefs; subjective norms; identity expressiveness; theory of planned behavior organic food; consumer behavior; beliefs; subjective norms; identity expressiveness; theory of planned behavior
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Bai, L.; Wang, M.; Gong, S. Understanding the Antecedents of Organic Food Purchases: The Important Roles of Beliefs, Subjective Norms, and Identity Expressiveness. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3045.

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