Consumers’ concerns about the quality, safety, and environmental-friendliness of foods have dramatically increased due to the various food safety and environmental issues in last decade. The demand for organic food is increase as foods that are not genetically modified and are produced in a natural way without the use of chemicals fertilizers and pesticides. In response to the demand for organic foods, organic farming has been promoted in many countries. So, demand of organic food is an important drivers of organic farming. Iran's share of organic farmland in the world is very low and equals 0.02 percent, which the low consumption of organic food is important reason. Therefore, the aim of this paper is predicting factors on intention to purchase organic food. In this study, in addition to the three factors in the theory of planned behavior, the effects of three independent predictors of environmental concerns, health consciousness and perceived quality of the product are investigated on the intention to purchase organic food. The following hypotheses were proposed based on the purposes of paper:
H1. Consumer's attitude towards the organic food positively influences their intention to purchase organic food.
H2. Consumer's perceived behavioral control positively influences their intention to purchase organic food.
H3. Consumer's subjective norms positively influences their intention to purchase organic food.
H4. Consumer's perceived quality of the product positively influences their intention to purchase organic food.
H5. Consumer's environmental concerns positively influences their intention to purchase organic food.
H6. Consumer's environmental concerns positively influences their attitude, perceived behavioral control, subjective norms and perceived quality of the product.
H7. Consumer's health consciousness positively influences their intention to purchase organic food.
H8. Consumer's health consciousness positively influences their attitude, perceived behavioral control, subjective norms and perceived quality of the product.
The Theory of Planned Behavior is one of the most widely applied and accepted models of the belief-attitude–behavior relationship which states that three independent predictors, namely; perceived behavioral control, behavioral attitudes, and subjective norm all together leads to the formation of a behavioral intention. The Theory of Planned Behavior is very useful for understanding and predicting consumer intention and behavior in a wide range of fields such as organic food. The Theory of Planned Behavior framework is appropriate for predicting organic food purchase intention across different cultures.
Relationships among the variables were analyzed using the multivariate analysis technique Partial Least Square-Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM). Firstly the measurement model was utilized to test the validity and reliability of the model and then on structural model was tested for the model fit and hypothesis testing. The research data was analyzed by the method of partial least squares using Smart PLS software.
Results show that given the factor loadings values and model fitting indexes, the indicators (observed variables) such decision to purchase, willingness to purchase, trying to purchase, the opinion of friends, the opinion of important people, the opinion of family, ability to access, time, income have the necessary accuracy to measure latent variables.
The findings of structural model and hypothesis testing reveal that that among the basic components of planning behavior theory, behavioral attitudes and perceived behavioral control have a positive and significant effect on the intention to purchase organic food. This means that a positive attitude towards buying organic food, being able to access organic food stores and having enough time and money will increase the consumer's intention to buy organic food. Therefore, the hypothesis 1 and 3 of the study were confirmed. Investigating the effect of other components indicates that environmental concern and health consciousness have a positive and significant direct impact on the intention to purchase organic food meaning that increasing the importance of the environment and concern for its destruction, as well as increasing consumer consciousness of family health and sensitivity to food safety, make them more inclined to purchase organic food, hence, hypotheses 5 and 7 were confirmed. In addition, variables of environmental concern and health consciousness indirectly influence the intention to purchase organic food by influencing behavioral attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and perceived quality of the product. Therefore, research hypotheses 6 and 8 were confirmed. Also, the model fitting indexes and being model values in the acceptable range demonstrate that structural model are good fit with the data.
Since the basic components of planned behavior theory, i.e. behavioral attitude and perceived behavioral control have positive and significant impact on the intention to purchase organic food, it is suggested that awareness programs and advertising about the properties of organic food be increased and expanded the organic food stores throughout the city to make it easier for citizens and consumers to access organic food.
Also, the positive and significant impact of environmental concerns and health consciousness on the intention to purchase organic food reveal that it’s necessary to inform on issues related to personal health and food safety, as well as educate the importance of the environment and the consequences of environmental degradation to consumers.