Since the late 20th century, there has been a significant change in attitude and desire towards the consumption of organic foods. Many people were unaware of organic food, but with increased technology, more than 80% of the world population is currently aware of organic foods and their value (Nica, 2020). With the increased incidence of lifestyle and behavior diseases such as heart disorders and diabetes, many consumers realize the significance of consuming quality food products free from toxins (Rana and Paul, 2017). This resulted in the motto “You are what you eat,” this perception increased the demand for organic food products, with consumers and producers putting efforts on eco-friendly food products.
Globally, there has been rising popularity on the nutritional value of organic foods. Many people are changing their attitudes regarding organic foods because of people’s expectations of organic food products (Pham et al., 2018). When quality product prices are lowered, many people tend to increase their purchases of the product. This applies to organic food products since their prices have greatly enhanced the change in consumer attitude. Many people prefer purchasing organic food products because they are cheap and have a significant value on people’s life (Hwang and Chung, 2019). Furthermore, many sellers increased their promotion of organic food products, and this awareness has attracted many consumers.
The aim of this research is to determine the factors that affect attitudes towards purchasing organic food in Hong Kong.
The research question is to what extent does the safety concern, organic food knowledge, and health consciousness affect the consumers’ attitude towards purchasing organic food in Hong Kong?
The research objective is to investigate the relationship between health consciousness, safety concern, and organic food knowledge to purchasing organic food in Hong Kong.
Currently, buying and selling of organic products have increased rapidly. Many people are changing their diet from fast food to organic foods (Basha and Lal, 2019). The rising health challenges and the increased environmental degradation has favored the expansion of organic food consumption (Nguyen et al., 2019). However, many consumers have changed their consumption pattern of organic food because of their change in attitude. Figure 1 below is the conceptual framework that has been adapted from Cembalo et al. (2019).
Health consciousness portrays the consumer’s thoughts regarding their health and whether they are ready to take any action to ensure their wellbeing. Most consumers counter-check their health condition with the food products they consume (Lee, 2016). Many consumers perceive organic food products as safe and healthy. From the study conducted by Bryla, organic food consumers believe that they are very nutritious (Bryła, 2016). It is therefore noted that the health consciousness of the consumer greatly determines the consumption of organic food. However, the consumer’s health consciousness is irrelevant in predating the consumers’ attitude towards organic products. According to Lee (2016), health consciousness has less impact on forecasting the attitude of the consumer regarding organic foods. This gives the following hypothesis;
H1: Consumers’ health consciousness has a positive impact on their attitude towards buying organic food.
Food Safety Concern
From the study conducted by Wang, Shen, and Gao (2018), consumers have raised their concerns regarding food safety. Food safety has been an area of focus, considering that there have been incidences of fertilizers and chemicals that have traces of heavy metal coagulating on food crops (Pham et al., 2018). Many consumers associate food safety with the food production process, including antibiotics, fertilizers, pesticides, and artificial additives. Organic food products are considered safe because they are free from chemicals in food production (Rana and Paul, 2017). Many people are always keen on the type of food they are eating as they fear risking their lives by contracting chronic diseases that result from heavy metals such as cancer. This leads to the following hypothesis;
H2: Consumers’ food safety concern has a positive impact on their attitude towards buying organic food.
Organic Food Knowledge
Several researchers view awareness and knowledge of organic food as a determinant of consumers’ purchasing decisions. Some researchers argue that inadequate consumer knowledge concerning organic foods is a great barrier in purchasing organic food products (McReynolds, Gillan, and Naquin, 2017). This knowledge is crucial as it determines the consumers’ judging ability on the varieties of organic foods. The objective and subjective knowledge regarding organic food determine the consumers’ purchase ability (Wu, Zhou, and Chien, 2019). Consumers’ awareness of objective knowledge is essential as it enhances the subjective knowledge that drives the attitude towards purchasing organic food (Razeghi, Haghi, and Yunesian, 2018). The consumers’ understanding of organic food products positively impacts the purchasing decision. This results in the following hypothesis;
H3: Consumers’ organic food knowledge has a positive impact on their attitude towards buying organic food.
This paper uses the philosophy of epistemology and ontology to attain the objectives and aim of the research. Ontology is a research philosophy that focuses on explaining the way things or objects in nature exist (Schiffer, 2019). The paper uses ontology research philosophy to explain the attitudes of the consumer regarding organic foods. Epistemology research philosophy aims to explain how data was gathered and the types of sources used to gather data (McKinnon, 2018). In this research, it is used to describe the way information regarding consumers’ attitudes was collected.
This research used the scientific deductive technique to examine the attitudes of consumers towards organic food. The deductive approach used structured questionnaires with reliable and valid measurements to collect primary data for hypothesis testing (Blanchflower, 2018). The quantitative methodology is significant because it is easy to handle data and variables when performing linear model predictions.
Sample survey research design was employed in the collection of primary data of this research.
Questionnaire and Measures
The questionnaire consisted of two sections; the first part focused on collecting demographic data. The second section consists of questions that focus on testing the research hypotheses such as food safety concerns, health consciousness, and organic food knowledge. The measures in this research are the independent and dependent variables. The independent variable is the attitude of the consumer towards purchasing organic foods. A five-point Likert scale was used, distributed as follows; 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, each representing strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, and strongly agree, respectively. The dependent variables for the study are the three items; health consciousness, food safety concern, and organic food knowledge.
Table 1.0: Measurement
|Food safety concern|
|Foods contain residues from chemical sprays and fertilizers |
Concern regarding the number of antibiotics, veterinary residues, and preservatives in meat
Concern regarding the quality and safety of meat
|Choosing meat carefully to ensure good health |
Personal considerations regarding health
Frequency of thinking regarding health issues
|Organic food knowledge|
|Knowledge extent regarding organic meat |
Information regarding the judging of the quality of organic meat
Information regarding the environmental and health benefits of organic meat
People expertise views on me regarding organic meat
|Attitude towards buying organic food|
|Buying organic meat instead of conventional meat is beneficial |
Purchase of organic meat instead of conventional meat is a wise choice
Purchase of organic meat instead of conventional meat makes me feel good
Buying organic meat instead of conventional meat makes me feel pleased
Sampling, Sample Size, and Participants
The paper uses a simple random sampling method to select qualified individuals for participation in the questionnaire. The sample size was calculated using the formula N > 50 + 8m (where m = number of the independent variable). Since there were three independent variables, the minimum case required was 74. The participants for this research study are parents and housewives who have considerable knowledge regarding health consciousness and safety concerns of food.
Data for this survey was collected from the questionnaire uploaded to online forums such as the baby kingdom forum and beauty exchange forum. The questionnaire time was approximately 5 minutes to enable the respondent to complete the survey without any pressure.
The analysis of data is done using the SPSS software version 25. The process involves data cleaning, sorting data, and performing multiple linear regression analysis to determine the causal relationship of the independent variable to the consumer’s attitude.
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