Inderscience Publishers

Motivating factors and barriers to sustainable consumer behaviour [1]

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Courtesy of Inderscience Publishers

While large scale, regionally concentrated food producers, processors and distributors are becoming more and more important, a number of consumers have become dissatisfied with this food system for various reasons. Some consumers search actively for alternatives. One of the more recent social innovations in the food sector are "Community Supported Agriculture" groups (CSAs). The aim of these groups is to provide consumers with healthy, locally grown food while at the same time revitalise local food economies. This paper addresses the question whether CSAs are likely to provide a broadly accepted alternative or only a limited one. With reference to a household survey in two distinct socio-economic neighbourhoods in upstate New York, the analysis examines the motivating factors for and the demand barriers of these alternative food production systems. The survey shows that there is a potential for expanding the alternative food markets that CSAs represent. This claim is based on two findings. Firstly, about 25% of the people interviewed indicated an interest in becoming members; general interest in CSAs being similar in the wealthier as well as the low-income neighbourhood. Secondly, a few factors preventing food demand through CSAs can be identified. These are the factors which CSA groups would have to address in one way or another, if they wanted to expand.

Keywords: sustainable agriculture, consumer behaviour, local food markets

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