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Special Issue "Consumption, Consumer Behaviour and Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Teodoro Luque Martínez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Marketing and Market Research Dpto., Economics and Business School, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
Interests: methodology of research; market research; non-profit marketing; consumer behavior; city marketing; marketing in higher education; tourism in natural protected areas

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will comprise papers that analyze the importance of consumption and consumer behavior as determinants of the production of goods and services and the use of natural resources.

The objective is to advance in the study of the knowledge about the origin and how the determinants of needs, desires, and demand operate and to identify how they are specified and the values that operate in the consumer decision process and the responsibility with which they act.

We are particularly interested in developing an understanding of the behavior in the exchange of goods and services from a sustainability perspective.

The consumer’s behavior, which responds to the stimuli and communication received, determines the way of life and the production necessary to satisfy present and future needs—in short, the sustainability of life.
The consumer society and the standards that characterize it should be reviewed both from a strategic perspective, at the macro level, as well as from a tactical perspective, in the daily decisions of consumers and suppliers.

Dr. Teodoro Luque Martínez
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • consumption habits
  • consumer behavior
  • responsible consumption
  • consumption and sustainable development
  • consumption as a determinant of production
  • environmental consequences of the consumer society
  • environmental values and consumption
  • education and consumption
  • need, desire, and demand

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Article
You Are What You Eat: The Relationship between Values and Organic Food Consumption
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3900; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093900 - 10 May 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1511
Abstract
In current times, the man-made problems affecting our planet (climate change, loss of biodiversity, etc.) are making an urgent case for shifting towards a more sustainable kind of consumption. One of the ways these problems can be addressed is to promote organic agriculture, [...] Read more.
In current times, the man-made problems affecting our planet (climate change, loss of biodiversity, etc.) are making an urgent case for shifting towards a more sustainable kind of consumption. One of the ways these problems can be addressed is to promote organic agriculture, which means boosting levels of organic food consumption. This study examines the relationship between the number of organic foods consumed and the specific values that consumers look for in foods, in order to deepen the current knowledge regarding the behaviour of the organic food consumer. To this end, data was analysed from a face-to-face survey of 776 people in Spain through bivariate analysis techniques. Results show that organic food consumers have a different pattern of values from non-consumers and a greater level of involvement with food in general. Moreover, within the group of organic consumers, the effect of values on the quantity or variety of foods consumed is not as marked, although there are differences in favour of those that consume more frequently. Lastly, the main implication of the results obtained is that, in order to increase consumption, selfish values should be connected with altruistic ones. For this reason, instilling a specific value based on the term or concept “life” is proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumption, Consumer Behaviour and Sustainability)
Article
The Concern about Biodiversity as a Criterion for the Classification of the Sustainable Consumer: A Cross-Cultural Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3472; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083472 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1092
Abstract
One of the variables assessed in the research related to the consumption of green products is environmental concern. This work explores a new dimension to environmental concern: biodiversity. The reasons why research has focused on the mentioned dimension are, on one hand, the [...] Read more.
One of the variables assessed in the research related to the consumption of green products is environmental concern. This work explores a new dimension to environmental concern: biodiversity. The reasons why research has focused on the mentioned dimension are, on one hand, the consideration of biodiversity as the main environmental indicator of the sustainability and, on the other, the paucity of marketing studies analyzing this variable and its relationship with the purchase behavior of sustainable products. The present paper proposes a classification of sustainable consumers according to their level of biodiversity concern. It is based on a quantitative study on the consumption behavior of olive oils carried out in four European countries, using the clustering multivariate technique. The results point out that there are differences between the segments depending on their level of commitment to biodiversity. The country’s influence on the way that its people experience biodiversity was also tackled. As a main conclusion, we identify four clusters or segments (not concerned, passive, active and influencers), setting up a multilevel structure of ascending intensity with regard to their level of biodiversity concern, with differences in the composition according to age and sex between countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumption, Consumer Behaviour and Sustainability)
Article
Exploring Collaboration and Consumer Behavior in Food Community Networks and Constraints Preventing Active Participation: The Case of Turkey
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3292; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083292 - 17 Apr 2020
Viewed by 748
Abstract
The term food community networks (FCNs) has been introduced to define a governance structure where consumers and producers integrate their functions to promote socially just, environmentally conscious, and healthier ways of food provisioning for communities. We use the theory of planned behavior (TPB) [...] Read more.
The term food community networks (FCNs) has been introduced to define a governance structure where consumers and producers integrate their functions to promote socially just, environmentally conscious, and healthier ways of food provisioning for communities. We use the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to explore how consumers’ behavioral intentions are shaped to participate in FCNs in Turkey. We extend the theory by exploring if collaboration is a factor that influences consumer participation. We further identify the main challenges associated with active participation. The findings show that the extended construct in our study, that is collaboration, positively and significantly predicted consumers’ attitude, while attitude, along with subjective norm and perceived behavioral control (PBC) had significant and positive effects on consumers’ intention to participate (co-produce) in FCNs. Consumers regarded time constraints as the biggest issue preventing active participation, while lack of volunteers taking responsibility and lack of communication within the communities were suggested as governance challenges that need to be addressed. This research can contribute to the debate on the importance of collaboration in food communities, towards adopting collaborative governance structures on a local scale, and shed light on the relatively novel experience of FCNs in Turkey. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumption, Consumer Behaviour and Sustainability)
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Article
The Tipping Point in the Status of Socially Responsible Consumer Behavior Research? A Bibliometric Analysis
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3141; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083141 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2460
Abstract
Looking at the impact of society on the environment or, as we write this manuscript in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the scenes of consumers hoarding products, we wonder if consumers really do exhibit socially responsible consumer behaviors (SRCB). An initial literature [...] Read more.
Looking at the impact of society on the environment or, as we write this manuscript in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the scenes of consumers hoarding products, we wonder if consumers really do exhibit socially responsible consumer behaviors (SRCB). An initial literature review showed that few studies have addressed this issue, which creates opportunities for the development of new research lines. Furthermore, no study had examined the conceptual evolution or whether SRCB is a developed or fragmented theme from an exhaustive compilation of all previous academic research. To address the proposed research questions, we conducted a bibliometric analysis applied to a corpus of manuscripts on SRCB indexed in the Web of Science (WoS) bibliographic database, from its inception in 1991 up to 2019. Co-word analysis provided a structure of conceptual sub-domains classified based on their density and centrality. In addition, thematic networks were extracted that showed the important associations between the main issues that the SRCB community has addressed, which enabled the authors to examine the subject’s intellectual structuring over almost three decades. The findings showed that the research, over time, has focused most on corporate social responsibility (CSR), this being a motor theme between 2013 and 2016. In general, SRCB has been a very fragmented field of study, however in the last three years, it has developed into a distinct entity; in the past, it was basically addressed through CSR. The most productive thematic areas during the last 30 years have been: (a) Research into consumer attitude, (b) research on CSR, and (c) research on social and sustainable consumption behavior. In response to calls for greater theoretical clarification of the SRCB discipline, the authors providing experts and novices with a better understanding of the current state of the art and suggest future research directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumption, Consumer Behaviour and Sustainability)
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Article
Developing a Scalable Dynamic Norm Menu-Based Intervention to Reduce Meat Consumption
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2453; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062453 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2300
Abstract
How can we curb the current norm of unsustainable levels of meat consumption? Research on dynamic norms finds that learning that others are starting to eat less meat can inspire people to follow suit. Across four field experiments, we test efforts to scale [...] Read more.
How can we curb the current norm of unsustainable levels of meat consumption? Research on dynamic norms finds that learning that others are starting to eat less meat can inspire people to follow suit. Across four field experiments, we test efforts to scale dynamic-norm messages by incorporating them into restaurant and web-based menus. Studies 1–3 find increases in vegetarian orders when dynamic norms are included in menus (1–2.5 percentage points), although this effect does not always reach statistical significance and varies across populations and analytic models. In Study 4, dynamic norms significantly reduced vegetarian orders. These results raise two critical questions. First, where and with whom should a dynamic norm message reduce meat consumption? Our field data and past theory point to non-high socioeconomic contexts, and contexts where the reference group of people who have changed is meaningful to consumers. Second, how can the treatment be strengthened? Over five online experiments, we find that the visibility of the messages can be greatly improved, and more relatable norm referents can be selected. Although impacts on food orders appear modest, the minimal costs of scaling menu-based dynamic norm messages and the possibility of improving effect sizes make this a promising approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumption, Consumer Behaviour and Sustainability)
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Article
Determinants of Actual Purchase Behavior in Farmers’ Markets
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5480; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195480 - 03 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 922
Abstract
Farmers’ markets in Taiwan advocate for the sustainable consumption of locally produced food to support sustainability and social justice goals. Institutional trust and interpersonal trust are critical determinative factors in sustaining farmers’ farm-to-consumer venues for the long-run. The purpose of this research was [...] Read more.
Farmers’ markets in Taiwan advocate for the sustainable consumption of locally produced food to support sustainability and social justice goals. Institutional trust and interpersonal trust are critical determinative factors in sustaining farmers’ farm-to-consumer venues for the long-run. The purpose of this research was to investigate determinants of customers’ actual purchase behaviors, and the relationships between trust, purchase intention, and actual purchase behavior in the context of farmers’ markets. A questionnaire approach with closed-ended survey questions was conducted with customers in farmers’ markets in different parts of Taiwan. The results revealed that both institutional and interpersonal trust could serve as driving forces influencing a consumer’s purchase intentions, which in turn reinforces their actual purchase behavior. Specifically, the interpersonal trust between consumers and producers includes positive interactions and sufficient communication, enabling producers to share the value and concepts underlying their production processes with the consumers, enhancing customers’ purchase intentions and intensity. Institutional trust generated from a producer’s endeavor to improve the quality of their own products by meeting market standards would impress consumers and build loyalty. It is recommended that farmers’ market farmers or managers continually examine both the institutional and interpersonal needs of customers (e.g., food safety, face-to-face interactions between farmers and consumers) to earn customers’ trust, and to accommodate their expectations by providing sufficient products and services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumption, Consumer Behaviour and Sustainability)
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Article
Service Quality and Customer Loyalty in a Post-Crisis Context. Prediction-Oriented Modeling to Enhance the Particular Importance of a Social and Sustainable Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4930; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184930 - 09 Sep 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
Research into the influence of service quality on customer loyalty has typically focused on confirming isolated direct causal influences regarding particular dimensions of quality, usually undertaken in the context of positive, firm-customer relations. The present study extends analysis of these factors through a [...] Read more.
Research into the influence of service quality on customer loyalty has typically focused on confirming isolated direct causal influences regarding particular dimensions of quality, usually undertaken in the context of positive, firm-customer relations. The present study extends analysis of these factors through a new lens. First, the study was undertaken in a market context following a crisis that has had far-reaching consequences for customers’ relational behaviors. We explore the case of the Spanish banking industry, a sector that accurately reflects these new relational conditions, including a rising demand for more socially responsible banking. Second, we propose a holistic model that combines the effects of four key factors associated with service quality (outcome, personnel, servicescape and social qualities). We also apply an innovative predictive methodological technique using partial least squares (PLS) and qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) that enables us not only to determine the direct causal effects among variables, but also to consider different scenarios in which to predict customer loyalty. The results highlight the role of outcome and social qualities. The novelty of the social qualities factor helps to underscore the importance of social, ethical and sustainable practices to customer loyalty, although personnel and servicescape qualities must also be present to improve the predictive capability of service quality on loyalty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumption, Consumer Behaviour and Sustainability)
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Article
The Millennials’ Concept of Sustainability in the Food Sector
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2984; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102984 - 25 May 2019
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 4643
Abstract
The aim of this study is to analyze the perception of the meaning of sustainability in the food sector. A sample of 268 University students belonging to the Millennial generation was identified and a survey was carried out to assess the interaction between [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to analyze the perception of the meaning of sustainability in the food sector. A sample of 268 University students belonging to the Millennial generation was identified and a survey was carried out to assess the interaction between this kind of Millennials and food sustainability. Collected data were explored with descriptive statistics, followed by multivariate statistical techniques to get an integrated vision of relationships among the variables. Outcomes evidence four groups of Millennials with specific peculiarities, i.e., “Socio-Nature Sensitives”, characterized by a high level of attention for the socio-economic dimension and sustainable ways of food production; “Info-Supporter”, very sensitive to labeling and warranty systems; “Proactive-Oriented”, interested in innovative activities; “Indifferent Millennials”, assigning the issue in general a low level of importance. Results provide useful information and some contribution to public institutions and private stakeholders so as to implement new rules and new tools in the food sector, so as to reach the target of reducing waste and pollution. Substantial literature on interaction between Millennials and sustainability in the food sector has not yet been developed; the aim of this pioneer study is to offer some contribution to the debate among stakeholders on driving choices towards new consumption rules and production patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumption, Consumer Behaviour and Sustainability)
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