Trends in organic food consumption in China: opportunities and challenges for regional Australian exporters

McCarthy, Breda, Liu, Hong-Bo, and Chen, Tingzhen (2014) Trends in organic food consumption in China: opportunities and challenges for regional Australian exporters. In: Proceedings of the Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia. From: SEGRA 2014: Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia Conference, 8-10 October 2014, Alice Springs, NT, Australia.

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The organic food industry in China has experienced rapid development (Li, Ge & Bai, 2013); its size has quadrupled in the past five years (Soil Association, 2012) and it is expected to double by 2015 (Euromonitor, 2011). Market reports suggest that the rising demand for organic food in China is associated with increasing disposable income and a belief that imported food may provide protection from the various food scandals that have beset China (ITC, 2011; Mintel, 2012). For regional producers of organic food, this market shows promise. An online survey of 250 Chinese consumers shows that the purchase of organic food is motivated by altruistic concern (i.e., environment and animal welfare concern) and self-interest (i.e., personal and familial health concerns, food safety concerns). Individuals who consume green and organic food are likely to distrust the Chinese food system. Age is an influential factor affecting purchase of certified organic food. Consumers aged 36 and over are more likely to buy certified organic food. The presence of children in the household is also an influential factor. The survey reveals gaps in respondents’ knowledge of green food and only half of those surveyed could distinguish between organic and green food. Fruit and vegetables are the most popular type of green food purchased. This study helps fill a gap in the academic literature given that comparatively little is known about the factors that influence consumers' buying behaviour in China and Asia (Marchesini, Huliyeti & Canavari, 2012; Roitner-Schobesberger, Darnhofer, Somsook, & Vogl, 2008; Sirieix, Kledal, & Sulitang, 2011; Thᴓgersen and Zhou, 2012; Truong, Yap, & Ineson, 2012; Yin, Wu, Du & Chen, 2010). Recommendations include the development of a generic branding strategy, appropriate segmentation strategies and consumer education. Export barriers are significant, but they not insurmountable. There is a need to expedite market access and the negotiation of a free trade agreement between Australia and China.

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Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2015 04:44
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