Barriers to organic food purchases in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Mkhize, Sandile Simphiwe.
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Concern about food quality has been increasing. The change from conventional to organic foods has been found to have benefits for the environment and for consumers Although a market for organic fresh produce has been found to exist in South Africa, there is incomplete understanding on South African organic consumers as research that relates to organic consumption is limited. Most research on organic consumption is conducted in international markets. Despite there being a market for organic produce, consumption levels in South Africa are low. The purpose of this research is therefore to explore organic consumption barriers in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. A review of literature discusses the profile of organic consumers, reasons for organic consumption and barriers to organic consumption found in other research. The study adopted the Theory of Reasoned Action, the Theory of Planned Behaviour and particularly the extended Theory of Planned Behaviour as the theoretical lens. A Conceptual Framework was developed to better unpack barriers to organic purchases. After Ethical Clearance was granted, data was collected using the Interview Guide. The researcher conducted interviews with participants who were aware of organic products but were not regular consumers of organic products. Snowball sampling was used to recruit participants to the study to better understand barriers to organic purchases in South Africa. Generally, participants appear to be concerned about the environment, however, their concern for the environment is not leading to organic consumption (they were recruited for their non-consumption of organic products). Furthermore, participants have positive attitudes toward organic products, are not influenced by friends and family but are deterred by issues such as price, availability and labelling of organic products. The recommendations include initiatives that will assist marketers with communicating organic benefits to consumers thereby explaining the reasons for higher prices and leading to consumer trust.