Eating on the Fringe: Influences on Organic Food Consumption

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University of Waterloo

Organic food is defined by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (2009) as food grown and processed without chemicals, fertilisers or genetically modified organisms, using sustainable farming methods such as crop rotation and organic fertilising.

This working paper compares global data on organic food consumption as a prelude to understanding motives for organic food service and consumption. While New Zealand (NZ) markets itself as 100% pure, an overwhelming majority of New Zealanders eats food sprayed with or grown in chemicals, and only 1.16% of land is in organic production (FiBL and iFOAM, 2013).

The paper overviews studies undertaken in Auckland (NZ), the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US), to help understand motives for serving and eating organic food. Reasons include environmental concerns, health concerns, and the belief that some organic food tastes better than conventionally grown food. However, price and supply problems limit the organic market generally. Indications for future study are indicated.

This study is particularly relevant to health and wellness tourism because a commitment to organic food may provide a competitive advantage that cannot be developed quickly, as it typically takes three years to convert land to organic use (Department for Environment - Food and Rural Affairs, 2012). It also critically examines New Zealand’s position in the global organic market in the context of the 100% Pure marketing campaign (New Zealand Tourism, 2013).

In H. Mair (Chair), Proceedings of the Critical Tourism Studies North America Inaugural Meeting, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada, 1-4 August 2016. Waterloo, ON, Canada: University of Waterloo.
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