Den økologiske forbruger & postmodernismen

Mette Cathrine Brixen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

There is a big consumption of organic food in Denmark and the demand for organic products continues to grow even though the Danish society is experiencing recession and the consumers are spending less money in general. Despite the decrease in spending it seems like the consumption of organic food is not declining. This leads to thinking that there must be some general society trends, which are influencing the consumers’ attitudes and values, and thereby influencing their behavior. Some theorists call the present Danish society a postmodern society, because of how it has developed over the last twenty-thirty years and it appears that postmodernism has affected the organic consumption. The aim of this thesis is therefore to answer: What are the reasons why Danish consumers buy organic food? What characterizes the present Danish society? Which trends in the society have had an impact on the popularity of organic food? Who is the typical organic consumer and which values does he/she associate with organic food? How are the organic values and the trends in the postmodern society connected? Research on the topic has revealed that although there has been conducted numerous quantitative studies on the topic, only few qualitative studies of the Danish consumers have been carried out. A qualitative study will provide unique insight and knowledge of how the consumers view organic consumption and why they choose organic products over non-organic products. In this thesis an interview survey of Danish consumers who consider themselves organic consumers has been carried out and is the foundation for the analysis. Inglehart’s theory about the postmodern society has been applied to first understand what characteristic make out a postmodern society and second to see how this apply to the present Danish society. The Danish society can also be referred to as a risk society. This makes the consumers more aware of the risks that surround them and affects how they think and act. Fischler and Lupton both put forward theories about how the consumers through their choice of food signal their personal values to rest of the world. Fischler and Lupton both argue that food helps form a consumer’s identity and that by consuming a product one transfer its values to oneself. The analysis of the answers from the interview survey along with results from several other consumer studies show that the consumers mainly choose to buy organic food for four reasons – health, the environment, animal welfare, and quality & taste. The emphasis on these four reasons can be related to the values and attitudes present in a postmodern society and the analysis shows a connection between organic consumption and the presence of postmodern values. Furthermore, the interview survey reveals that it is difficult to determine who is a typical organic consumer. Instead, it seems like organic consumption has become mainstream and people from all consumer segments are buying organic products. However, there are signs which indicate that women, with high level of education, living in the bigger cities and with small children are more inclined to buy organic products compared to others. The thesis shows how the consumers and the consumption of organic food are influenced by the general values and attitudes present in the Danish society. These attitudes and values are not likely to change overnight and should therefore by taking into consideration by supermarkets and producers of organic food, when considering how to best market their products.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2010
Number of pages69