Buying organic: Decision-making heuristics and empirical evidence from Germany

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Identifying the drivers that positively influence consumption of organic products is of utmost importance to reach consumers beyond the niche. Therefore, this study aims to propose an innovative framework which conceptualizes motivating beliefs and a simple decision-making heuristic as predictors of buying organic.

A structural equation approach is applied. Data were obtained from a nationwide panel (n = 1,760) and included survey data and scanner data for five different food categories.

The model is supported by actual purchasing data in all categories. While beliefs explained about 75 per cent of the variance in the decision-making heuristic for organic products, the heuristic in turn predicted up to 20 per cent of the variance in buying behavior.

Research limitations/implications
Further research should aim to validate the proposed constructs and relationships and refine the factors.

Practical implications
Consumers have to understand and value the benefits of organic products. Self-interested and environmental beliefs are equally strong motivations which can be seen as an opportunity for marketing.

The results contribute to understanding the structure and the impact of heuristics and quantify the competing beliefs by which heuristics are driven.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)552-561
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016