PPSY 572 Mohicans Group Project Organic vs. Non Organic

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We hope you enjoy our research study on organic vs. non-organic food!

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Method Discussion Organic vs. Non Organic Food Kelly Aguirre, Vanessa Sapien, Stephanie Sulea, Lynsey Turner Azusa Pacific University Chart #1 Chart #2 References Literature Review The current product consumer is flooded with mixed messages when attempting to make an informed decision about whether or not to buy organic versus non organic foods. With food markets of all types advertising health benefits for both organic and non organic foods, the average shopper can be at a loss in their decision making process of what type of food is best, even if credible health experts stress the importance of an organic, chemical free diet. There can be a bleak understanding surrounding the health benefits of an organic diet… Results Participants: This particular group decided that they would survey classmates, friends, and family in their 20s and 30s so that the group would be able to collect data from a wide range of people within a similar age group. Each group member supplied a list of names that would be willing to participate in the survey. The pie chart In Figure 1.1 shows that the majority of participants (9/15) sway more toward purchasing organic produce and foods twhen grocery shopping. This is further is confirmed by Figure 1.2, which shows that the majority of participants disagree with the statement in Item 2. Crinnion, J.W. (2010). Organic Foods Contain Higher Levels of Certain Nutrients, Lower Levels of Pesticides, and May Provide Health Benefits for the Consumer, Alternative Medicine Review. 15(1), 4-12.   The results displayed that participants purchased a mix of both organic and non organic foods when grocery shopping. Our results showed that people still buy organic food even though they do believe they are expensive. But, the study showed that they believe that the perceived health benefits out weight the high prices.

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Literature Review The current product consumer is flooded with mixed messages when attempting to make an informed decision about whether or not to buy organic versus non organic foods. With food markets of all types advertising health benefits for both organic and non organic foods, the average shopper can be at a loss in their decision making process of what type of food is best, even if credible health experts stress the importance of an organic, chemical free diet. There can be a bleak understanding surrounding the health benefits of an organic diet, if any, especially when we consider additional factors such as accessibility, cost, ethical concerns, economic consciousness and personal characteristics of the consumer. Such factors may represent salient considerations for the consumer when making purchase decisions for themselves and their families. Such factors may also be especially important when we consider a specific age range within our broader society. With so many variables affecting ones decision of what types of food to buy, it is both important and helpful to have a greater understanding of which variables seem to be the most present in the current literature and how these findings fare with special populations.

Literature Review Cont’d…:

With sales of organic foods increasing by over twenty-five billion dollars in the last twenty years (Curl et al., 2013), several factors need to be considered, when taking into account the preconceived notion that organic foods tend to be more expensive than non organic. If budgetary concerns are a factor in a consumer ’ s decision to purchase certain foods, then there must be additional discrepancies for consumers to be willing to make the monetary sacrifice. It is important to remember that not everybody has access to organic food and that it is not currently available in all communities. Both individual and neighborhood level characteristics are associated with someone's decision to buy or consume organic produce, which could be associated with produce availability (Curl et al., 2013). Thus the increase in sales can be seen as somewhat of a revelation, considering the lack of access that seems to occur for certain demographics. When we consider other parts of the world and how different countries conceptualize their ideation of organic food consumption, we learn from a study done in Norway, that women who ate organically during their pregnancy had a better dietary pattern and quality that was more in line with public advice for healthy and sustainable diets (Torjusen et al., 2012). In Finland, behaviors associated with organic product consumption are based on their attitude towards organic foods. Consumers fall into clusters in terms of being for or against organic products. Those who regularly consumed organic products had higher levels of education, a better dietary pattern that was sustainable, and were less overweight compared to those that consumed non-organic products.  It was also found that those who consumed organic products had a higher education level, but the income between those that consumed and did not consume organic products was not significantly different (Kesse- Guyot et al., 2013) Literature Review Cont ’ d…

Literature Review Cont’d…:

Literature Review Cont ’ d… Income appears to be an overarching pattern in organic food consumption as a non-issue, even though it is believed that organic foods tend to be more costly. Stevens- Garmon et al. (2007) conducted a study trying to gauge how the level of use (consumption) of organic produce increases or decreases based on categorical differences. They too, did not find any correlation between household income and organic produce consumption. However, they did find evidence to support a second overarching pattern in organic food purchases, which is, higher education levels also increase consumption.

Literature Review Cont’d…:

Literature Review Cont ’ d… If money is not a primary concern or consideration when making the decision to purchase organic foods, then other categories need to be pondered more carefully. This idea has been addressed by Honkanen et al (2006). Again, we see in Norway, that issues of ethical motivations, attitudes, and intentions to purchase and consume organic foods can be valid concerns for some people. Those who were more ecologically minded and had ethical concerns such as fair trade and human rights are also more likely to purchase organic foods than conventional foods. Research also highlights the fact that health and environmental concern also play a major role in the choice to consume organic versus conventional foods (Honkanen et al., 2006). Consumers will purchase often more expensive organic foods due to certain moral and ethical values, such as sustainability (Hauser et al., 2013). Michaelidou and Hassen (2008) discuss how health consciousness, food safety concerns, and ethical identity of consumers impacts attitudes toward organic food. Experimenters explain that participants who are health conscious are concerned with their state of welling and are often involved in physical exercise and nutrition. Those who identify as ethical consumers are also concerned about products that are environmentally friendly, such as no chemicals, preservatives, and other additives. Varying perspectives would say that, ethical self-identity and buying intention primarily influences a regular consumer and that health and food safety concerns primarily influence the occasional consumer (Dahm et al., 2009). While being economically conscious is important, less than fifty percent of college students seem to know the difference between organic and non organic foods (Pino et al., 2012).

Literature Review Cont’d…:

Literature Review Cont ’ d… If consumers are concerned with being economically and environmentally conscious, then the education one must have when making a purchase decision would need to include a variety of factors. There is an assumption that animals being treated on non organic farms are held to a higher standard of care than non organic. However, being that there is still a limited amount of research found on this topic that targets these specifics, it has been hard to prove that animals are in fact being held to a higher standard of care (Sutherland et al., 2013). Evidence is also lacking for nutrition-related health effects that result from the consumption of organically produced foods (Dangour et al., 2010). A potential benefit to organic food purchases seems to be that, agriculturally, a number of considerations are taken into account in terms of how to obtain nutritional value. One example of nutritional content is antioxidants, non organic foods seem to contain more and in much higher numbers (Crinnion, 2010). Some of these truths are consistent with popular belief, while some are not. Creating a space for greater understanding on the part of the buyer for what constitutes being a moral consumer.

Method:

Method All members of the Research and Methodology Online Course for Azusa Pacific University ’ s Masters in Clinical Psychology Masters Program conducted an experiment. This particular study first began on the class ’ group forums section on the school ’ s Sakai class web page. The forums section was the classmate ’ s main source of communicating throughout this group project. The experiment began by forming a group. Once the group was formed the members began deciding on a topic to research. The topic of organic food versus non organic food appealed to all members of the group so the group decided to begin the steps to conduct a survey. Once the group decided the population that the group would be conducting research on the group began researching current literature to form a hypothesis about the preference of organic and non organic food. After research on literature was completed the hypothesis was formed.

Method Cont’d…:

Method Cont ’ d… Participants : The first step to completing this study was to decide who the participants would be. This particular group decided that they would survey classmates, friends, and family in their 20s and 30s so that the group would be able to collect data from a wide range of people within a similar age group. Each group member supplied a list of names that would be willing to participate in the survey. Materials : Together the group members created survey questions through the forums section on the Sakai course webpage to be given to participants in the study. These questions all focused on someone choice to buy organic versus non organic foods. The questions looked at the initial choice, and then also looked at reasons for this choice. The questions consisted of eight quantitative questions and two qualitative questions. The questions were formatted so that participants selected one response, strongly agree, agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or disagree for each of the quantitative responses. Participants had no requirement in completing the qualitative questions.

Method Cont’d…:

Method Cont ’ d… Procedure : One member then created a survey on the website surveymonkey.com . Before this survey could be sent out to participants the group had to get permission from Azusa Pacific University to complete a study. This permission was granted from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA). Once permission was granted from Reyna, who works in the OIRA office, to conduct the survey, another group member emailed the survey and included an informed consent to 25 classmates, family, and friends willing to participate in the study. Each group member had access to the survey online to watch as participants completed the survey and to observe results. The final step was for a group member to compile all of the findings into graphs for all of the members and others to visually see the results. These results will be shown and discussed in later sections.

Results:

Results The pie chart In Figure 1.1 shows that the majority of participants (9/15) sway more toward purchasing organic produce and foods when grocery shopping. This is further is confirmed by Figure 1.2, which shows that the majority of participants disagree with the statement in Item 2. When coupled together, these charts suggest that Individuals in their 20-30s do not necessarily choose non-organic over organic foods when at the grocery store. Thus, our hypothesis was not fully corroborated.   A survey of items 9-10 suggests that participants tend to choose organic foods for reasons relating to health benefits. Several responses indicate that lack of chemicals and pesticides is important for consumers. Thirteen of the 15 participants noted that price would influence their decision to purchase non-organic foods over organic foods. This is further confirmed by the results presented in Figure 1.3, which suggests that the majority of the 15 participants in the study believe that organic food is not affordable. None of the participants marked that they strongly agreed with the statement in survey Item 6. Figure 1.4 suggests that there was little variability in responses between participants. Items four and six show the greatest consensus among participant ’ s responses, as evidenced by smaller standard deviations ( SD = 0.91, SD = 0.99, respectively). These results are somewhat contradictory, as the mean of Item 6 suggests that participants sway toward disagreement and the mean of Item 4 suggests that participants still purchase organic foods, regardless of price. Perhaps this can be interpreted to mean that though organic foods are more expensive, perceived health benefits or other reasons still sway participants to purchase organic foods.

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Chart #1 Figure 1.1

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Chart #2 Figure 1.2

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Chart #3 Figure 1.3

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Table Figure 1.4

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Discussion The results displayed that participants purchased a mix of both organic and non organic foods when grocery shopping. Our results showed that people still buy organic food even though they do believe they are expensive. But, the study showed that they believe that the perceived health benefits out weight the high prices. The perceived health benefits include but are not limited to food that lacks pesticides and chemicals and offer greater nutritional value. In looking at the results, it would be helpful to have had more participants to make the study more accurate. Not all of the people that volunteered to participate completed the survey, and we feel that more participants would have given us more thorough data. Every participant did answer all of the questions, which provided complete surveys from 15 participants. These results are not very generalizable because we did not have enough participants to make the results more “ general. ” We also asked a range of people, grad students, family, and friends, but to keep the study ethical we do not know any participant ’ s demographic information. We knew their age, but it would have been more helpful to know income, education level, current health concerns, and household size. This would have provided a more thorough picture of reasons why people chose what they did. It seems as though this topic might not be as generalizable or relevant for people living in other regions. This topic is very characteristic of concerns for those living in Orange County.

Discussion Cont’d…:

Discussion Cont ’ d… The data collected was relevant to the topic. The topic seemed appropriate for the geographical location of all of our participants. Even the qualitative information received was relevant and helpful for our study and determining results. In looking at the results we should have asked more questions about participants healthy life styles. This would have given us more insight into how much of a priority healthy eating and lifestyles are for participants. We see a necessity for further research in this area. It would be helpful know more demographic information and to have a more specific population. This would allow research to be much narrower which would provide more helpful and accurate results.

References:

References Crinnion, J.W. (2010). Organic Foods Contain Higher Levels of Certain Nutrients, Lower Levels of Pesticides, and May Provide Health Benefits for the Consumer, Alternative Medicine Review. 15(1), 4-12. Curl, C.L., et al. (2013). Associations of Organic Produce Consumption with Socioeconomic Status and the Local Food Environment: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), PLoS ONE. 8(7):e69778. Dahm, M.J., Samonte, A.V., Shows, A.R. (2009). Organic Foods: Do Eco-Friendly Attitudes Predict Eco-Friendly Behaviors?, Journal of American College Health. 58(3), 195-202. Dangour, A.D., et al. (2010). Nutrition-related Health Effects of Organic Foods: A Systematic Review, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 92(1), 203-210. Hauser, M., Nussbeck, F.W., Jonas, K. (2013). The Impact of Food-Related Values on Food Purchase Behavior and the Mediating Role of Attitudes: A Swiss Study, Psychology and Marketing. 30(9), 765-778. Honkanen, P., Verplanken, B., Olsen, S.T. (2006). Ethical Values and Motives Driving Organic Food Choice, Journal of Consumer Behaviour. 5(1), 420-430. Kesse- Guyot, E., et al. (2013). Profiles of Organic Food Consumers in a Large Sample of French Adults: Results from the Nutrinet-Sante´ Cohort Study, PLoS ONE. 8(10): e76998. Michaelidou, N., Hassen, L.M. (2008). The Role of Health Consciousness, Food Safety Concern and Ethical Identity on Attitudes and Intentions Towards Organic Food, International Journal of Consumer Studies. 32(1), 163-170. Pino, G., Peluso, A.M., Guido, G. (2012). Determinants of Regular and Occasional Consumers ’ Intentions to Buy Organic Food, The Journal of Consumer Affairs. 46(1), 157-169. Stevens- Garmon, J., Huang, C.L., Lin, B.H. (2007). Organic Demand: A Profile of Consumers in the Fresh Produce Market , A publication of the American Agricultural Economics Association. 22(2), 209-115. Sutherland, M.A., Webster, J., Sutherland, I. (2013). Animal Health and Welfare Issues Facing Organic Production Systems, Open Access Animals. 3(1), 1021-1035. Torjusen, H., et al. (2012). Food Patterns and Dietary Quality Associated with Organic Food Consumption During Pregnancy; Data From a Large Cohort of Pregnant Women in Norway, BMC Public Health. 12(1), 1-15.