Regulatory Focus and Motives For Organic Food Preferences In the United States
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The market for organic food has expanded rapidly. A clear understanding of the consumer motivations driving increased demand can benefit efforts to further develop the organic food market, support environmentally sustainable food systems, and encourage health dietary patterns. This dissertation explores the relative importance of various food choice motives among U.S. consumers with regard to Regulatory Focus Theory. In doing so, it also examines the psychometric properties of the Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ)--a multidimensional measure of motives that has seen limited use with U.S. samples.Data from 408 U.S. residents did not support the 9-factor structure of the FCQ. Using a revised model, it was found that the importance of some motives and the strength of some factor correlations differed across consumers who vary in terms of regulatory focus (promotion versus prevention). Prevention-focused consumers (compared to promotion-focused) placed greater important on mood, convenience, and familiarity and expressed a stronger positive correlation between the importance placed on sensory appeal and price as well as sensory appeal and natural content.The importance placed on health, natural content, sensory appeal, and impression management predicted organic preferences. Those who placed high importance on health and natural content and low importance on sensory appeal and impression management expressed greater organic preferences. In terms of predicting organic preferences, the relative importance of health motives (e.g., nutrition, vitamins) and natural content motives (e.g., additives, chemical residues) differed across promotion and prevention groups, but there were no significant differences in the strength of the predictors. Specific points of consumer confusion regarding USDA organic certification were also identified.