Consumers’ attitudes, perception of organic chicken

September 29, 2010

In a study published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers evaluated consumers’ attitude towards organic meat. Of the 976 people surveyed, most respondents (59%) occasionally purchased organic chicken. To determine the organic chicken consumer profile, the organic chicken consumption frequencies of different demographic groups were compared.

The results show dependence on age and ethnicity. Older respondents as well as respondents who identified themselves as Caucasians tended to buy organic chicken more frequently. However, many other socio-demographic factors were not correlated with organic chicken consumption: gender, education, household income, living with partner or not, and number of children.

Taste was identified as the most important meat quality attribute (perceived as very important by 94% of the respondents). Other important meat quality criteria were: general appearance, overall health, price, nutritional value, and containing no medical residues. “Organically produced” appeared to not be that important compared with other criteria. When respondents bought organic chicken more often, the importance of most of the meat quality attributes shifted to higher levels of importance, except for the price where an adverse effect was shown.

The main motivation factors to buy organic chicken were the perception that organic chicken has fewer residues (pesticides, hormones, antibiotics), is safer, and healthier. The high price for organic meats was the strongest limiting factor for organic meat purchases followed by poor availability. Approximately 41% of the non-buyers and 30% of the occasional buyers perceived organic meat as not or hardly likely to be available in their supermarket.