Organic Food: A Study of Consumer Perception and Preferences in Greece

Okay, I know you are asking why I am talking about Greek organic food what Greek people think about it? Well, there are several reasons but in particular there are not many U.S. studies on this issue right now and it is an interesting study about what people think about organic food.

First off, this survey was given to people in all 13 regions of Greece, and they got 1,945 responses – not a bad number! 60% were women, which is fairly standard since they buy most household food items and over 60% were under 40 which is good for estimating our future with organic foods. Most were employed in very good jobs and over 53% had a college degree. Nearly 99% said they were aware of organic foods and 86% thought that organic foods were healthier than conventionally produced foods.

Here are a few things that bothered me and should bother all of us whether we grow organic or process organic food. First, only 60% of the survey participants knew about the organic certification program and that certification is required to use an organic label which is not unlike US consumers. Second, only 28% knew about the actual European organic logo you see in the picture above. This is sad and may not be too far from the U.S. knowledge about organic labels. The USDA Organic Seal is important and useful and must be protected. Third, and maybe most important, 61% believed that there is no adequate control in organic food production. Most of you in organic production may think that there is too much control now, but the average consumer is skeptical that there is anyone really inspecting to make sure what is labeled organic is organic!

Where do they buy organic foods in Greece? Nearly 80% buy in either supermarkets or in specialty stores (48.3% and 31.1% respectively) and not much in Farmers Markets or Online. How often do they buy organic? 55% say they buy either daily, 2-3 times per week or weekly. What do they buy organic? Mostly fruits and vegetables, milk, and other dairy products. Surprisingly, over 30% of organic purchases are meat and poultry which is better than in the US.

Two things to end with. 65% believe that organic food is more nutritious and 43% believe it is higher quality! Those are great numbers and are encouraging for this age group. Second, and most important to me, nearly 80% say they will continue to buy organic despite organic food’s higher prices.

To read the full study with all the numbers go here: Organic food: A Study of consumer perception and preferences in Greece.

Author: Bob Whitney, Regents Fellow & Extension Organic Specialist

Agriculturalist, extension educator and researcher, organic agriculture enthusiast and promoter, international program developer, Christian, husband, father and friend.

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