Structural Equation Modeling of lifestyles and consumer attitudes towards organic food by income: a Spanish case study
R. Olivas, M Díaz, and R. Bernabéu. 2013. Structural Equation Modeling of lifestyles and consumer attitudes towards organic food by income: a Spanish case study. Cien. Inv. Agr. 40(2): 265-277. The organic food consumer in Spain is particularly conditioned by the premium prices of these foods and by their lack of availability in shops relative to conventional substitutes. In relation to the first determinant, several studies have revealed a direct relationship between maximum willingness to pay for these foods and consumer income. However, little is known about the influence of consumer attitudes, in relation to lifestyle, on these decisions. To address this issue, face-to-face surveys were conducted with 420 organic food consumers in the Madrid metropolitan area in December of 2006. The results were obtained by structural equation analysis, which includes a model for low income (χ2/df =2.37 p<0.01, CFI =0.866) as well as high income (χ2/df=1.93 p <0.01, CFI= 0.831) consumers. These individuals suggested that organic food consumption is clearly related to a healthy diet, respect for the environment and consumer sociability. Nevertheless, it must be noted that low-income consumers are more concerned about eating a healthy diet than those with higher incomes. In conclusion, the basic commercial strategy for increasing organic food consumption in Spain is tied to promoting production, favoring distribution and stimulating the competitiveness of organic food enterprises. The object is to lower its price difference with conventional food so price does not constitute an entrance barrier to this market for low income consumers.