Consumer perceptions of local and organic foods

Katariina Roininen, Anne Arvola, P. Lampila, J. Mäkelä, M. Isoniemi, S. Forsman-Hugg, J. Paananen, Lähteenmäki Liisa

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientific


For a growing number of consumers in Finland the interest in origin of foods has increased in recent years. The concept of local food has been launched to describe food produced near the consumer but it is not yet well-defined compared to organic food and consumers may understand it in different ways. This presentation consists of two studies that explore consumer perceptions of local and organic foods qualitative and quantitative techniques. The aim of the first study was to establish the personal values, meanings and specific benefits consumers relate to local food products by using two different qualitative interview techniques: laddering (n=30) and word association methods (n=20). Derived the results from the qualitative study, the questionnaire was developed on definition of local food, beliefs and attitudes towards concepts of local food, organic food, domestic food and foreign food. A total 1676 participants answered this internet questionnaire (study II). Based on qualitative techniques locally produced food was considered to support the local economy was related to short transport distance, freshness and trustworthiness of its origin regardless of the elicitation method. Organically produced food evoked more associations related to purity (no added additives or very few) than locally produced food did. Moreover, healthiness, and animal welfare were more associated with organically than with locally produced food. Organically produced food, however, evoked more negative associations, such as that it was more expensive than locally produced food. Survey confirms the results of the qualitative study. Consumers' notions about organic and local foods share some common features, such as good quality, trustfulness, good for well-being and good for environment. Supports local economy and not easy to identify was rated higher in the case of local food compared to organic food, whereas, organic was rated as more clean, expensive and less processed than local food.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventNordic Workshop in Sensory Science: Focus on the Nordic Consumer - Ski, Norway
Duration: 3 May 20065 May 2006


WorkshopNordic Workshop in Sensory Science


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