Skip to main content Accessibility help

A survey of organic produce purchases and related attitudes of food cooperative shoppers

  • Barbara J. Goldman (a1) and Katherine L. Clancy (a2)


We surveyed shoppers at a food cooperative in New York state to measure the relationship between organic produce purchases and attitudes related to pesticide use in agriculture, food costs, and other factors affecting produce buying. Two-fifths of the co-op shoppers surveyed usually or almost always purchased organically grown produce, and one-third were somewhat or very likely to pay 100 percent more than conventional produce for residue-free produce. Those who usually or almost always purchased organic produce were less concerned than other shoppers about price when they shop for produce, had higher levels of concern about food safety, and were less concerned about insects and surface blemishes on produce. There was no relationship between income and frequency of organic purchases. Most shoppers were concerned about pesticide residues in produce, but a high level of concern appeared necessary to affect the frequency of organic purchases. In their support of organic agriculture, respondents ranked environmental protection higher than consumer protection. Educators should emphasize both the environmental and food safety benefits of organic farming to consumers.



Hide All
1.Axelson, M. L. 1986. The impact of culture on food-related behavior. Annual Review of Nutrition 6:345.
2.Blair, D. 1989. Uncertainties in pesticide risk estimation and consumer concern. Nutrition Today 24(6):13.
3.Blair, D., and Sachs, C.. 1988. Public concerns about pesticides and the safety of the food supply. In Allen, P. and Van Dusen, D. (eds.). Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, Vol. I. Agroecology Program,University of California,Santa Cruz, California.
4.Carmines, E. G., and Zeller, R. A.. 1980. Reliability and Validity Assessment. Sage University Paper Series on Quantitive Applications in the Social Sciences, 07–017. Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, California.
5.Clancy, K. L. 1988. Consumer support of sustainable agriculture: Problems and potential solutions. In Allen, P. and Van Dusen, D. (eds.). Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, Vol. I.Agroecology Program, University of California,Santa Cruz, California.
6.Community Nutrition Institute. 1990. Nutrition Week. Vol. XX, No. 35.
7.Dillman, D. A. 1978. Mail and Telephone Surveys. The Total Design Method. John Wiley and Sons, New York, New York.
8.Ehlers, K. M., and Fox, H.. 1982. Food cooperative shoppers: Nutrition knowledge, attitudes and concerns. Journal of the American Dietetics Association 80:160.
9.Feenstra, G. 1988. Who Chooses Your Food? A Study of the Effect of Cosmetic Standards on the Quality of Fresh and Processed Produce. A CALPIRG Project Report.
10.Fjeld, C. R., Sommer, R., Becker, F., and Warholic, J.. 1983. Nutrition knowledge and preferences of food cooperative shoppers. Journal of the American Dietetics Association 82:389.
11.Food Marketing Institute. 1987. Trends Update: 1987 Consumer Attitudes and the Supermarket. Conducted by Opinion Research Corporation. Food Marketing Institute, Washington, DC.
12.Gianessi, L. P., and Greene, C. R.. 1988. The use of pesticides in the production of vegetables: Benefits, risks, alternatives and regulatory policies. Vegetables and Specialities Situation Outlook Report. USDA-ERS TVS-245. September.
13.Gussow, J. D., and Clancy, K. L.. 1986. Dietary guidelines for sustainability. Journal of Nutrition Education 18(1):1.
14.Hawkes, G. R., and Stiles, M. C.. 1986. Attitudes about pesticide safety. California Agriculture 40(56):19.
15.Irish, N. A., and Ries, C. P.. 1987. Nutrition information needs and concerns of food cooperative members. Journal of Nutrition Education 19(1):11.
16.Jolly, D. A., Schutz, H. G., Diaz-Knauf, K. V., and Johal, J.. 1989. Organic foods: Consumer attitudes and use. Food Technology 43(11):60.
17.Marshall, W. E. 1974. Health foods, organic foods, natural foods: What they are and what makes them attractive to consumers. Food Technology 28(51):50.
18.National Research Council. 1989. Alternative Agriculture. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. pp. 1920.
19.Organic Gardening. 1990. The 2nd Annual Organic Index: Tracking America's Preference for Organic Food and a Clean Environment.
20.Penner, K. P., Kramer, C., and Frantz, G. L.. 1983. The Kansas Residue Avoidance Program: Consumer Food Safety Perceptions. A Survey of Consumers in Eight Kansas Counties. Cooperative Extension Service, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.
21.Pimentel, D., Terhune, E. C., Dritschilo, W., Gallahan, D., Kinner, N., Nafus, D., Peterson, R., Zareh, N., Misiti, J., and Haber-Schaim, O.. 1977. Pesticides, insects in foods, and cosmetic standards. Bioscience 27(3):178.
22.Putnam, J. 1990. USDA ERS National Food Review 13(3):8.
23.Sachs, C., Blair, D., and Richter, C.. 1987. Consumer pesticide concerns: A 1965 and 1984 comparison. Journal of Consumer Affairs 21(1):96.
24.Schutz, H. G., Bruhn, C. M., and Diaz-Knauf, K. V.. 1989. Consumer attitude toward irradiated foods: Effects of labeling and benefits information. Food Technology 43(10):80.
25.Sims, L. S. 1980. Measuring nutrition-related attitudes: State of the art. In Attitudes Theory and Measurement in Food and Nutrition Research. Proceedings of a Symposium. 15–17 June. Pennsylvania State University. Regional Project NE-73.
26.Smallwood, D. 1988. Consumer demand for safer foods. USDA ERS National Food Review 12(3):9.
27.The Packer. 1990. Raley's pulls organic produce. 14 04, 1990.
28.U. S. Bureau of the Census. 1987. Money Income and Poverty Status. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.
29.van Ravenswaay, E. 1988. How much food safety do consumers want? In K. L. Clancy (ed.). Consumer Demands in the Marketplace. Public Policies Related to Food Safety, Quality and Human Health. National Center for Food and Agriculture Policy, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC.
30.Vogtmann, H. 1988. Organic foods: An analysis of consumer attitudes in West Germany. In Allen, P. and Van Dusen, D. (eds.). Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, Vol. I.Agroecology Program, University of California,Santa Cruz, California.
31.Woman's Day and Food Marketing Institute. 1980. Second Family Food Study. Nutrition vs. inflation: The battle of the eighties. Conducted by Yankelovitch, Skelly, and White, Inc. pp. 1200.
32.Yarbrough, P., and Yarbrough, F.. 1985. Pesticides and Related Environmental Issues. A Study of the Opinions and Behaviors of New York Adults. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
33.Zind, T. 1989. Fresh Trends 1989. The Packer 14:1.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Journal of Alternative Agriculture
  • ISSN: 0889-1893
  • EISSN: 1478-5498
  • URL: /core/journals/american-journal-of-alternative-agriculture
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed