Consumers’ perceptions, consumption and preference on organic product: Malaysian perspective

A national survey involving 625 respondents was carried out to investigate consumers’ perceptions, utilizations and preferences towards organic products in Malaysia. This study revealed that more than 90% of the respondents were aware and understood what organic product was all about. They associated organic products with free chemical, healthy foods and were natural. Most of them (93%) believed that organic products could be found in vegetables, followed by fruits (68%) and meats (17%). About 55% of the respondents have consumed organic foods; with more than half consumed them occasionally, while only 16% consumed at least once in a week. Factors that influenced respondents to consume organic products: a) perceived to be safe and good for health (83%), b) higher quality (42%), and c) contributed in the efforts to protect the environment. This study also revealed that the level of awareness among Malaysian consumers towards Malaysian Organic Scheme (SOM) was low. Supermarket was the most important marketing channel for organic products (72%), followed by specialty shop (53% – mostly for supplement products), and wet market (51%). The quality and freshness of products, the label and nutrient facts on the packaging and local products were factors considered important by consumers, while price was not a determining factor. Consumers were still willing to purchase organic products even if the price was 25% higher than the conventional one. Beyond this price, the willingness to purchase the products diminished.

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