Influences of pesticide residue and environmental concerns on organic food preference among food cooperative members and non-members in Washington State

Jennifer L. Wilkins, Virginia N. Hillers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

77 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although consumers express concerns about the health effects of pesticide residues, consumption of organic food is minimal. A survey was conducted to investigate the role of concerns about the health and environmental effects of pesticides on consumer preference for organically produced food, and the implications for nutrition educators and the organic food market. Members of a food cooperative that stocks organic foods and residents from the same geographical region were randomly selected to receive a mail questionnaire. Compared to the general population, members of the food cooperative had stronger attitudes and concerns about food and environmental issues, and a higher preference for and more frequent consumption of organic food. Pesticide residue concern was highly correlated with the food-related environmental concern variables and was a significant explanatory variable for organic food preference in both groups. However, environmental concerns were not significant explanatory variables for either group. In both study groups, a positive attitude toward cooking and shopping was correlated with food-related environmental concerns and was a significant explanatory variable for organic food preference. The results support the hypothesis that concern about pesticide residues is a significant factor in preference for organic food. However, the connections between food choices and environmental effects are unclear to many consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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