Behavior of the Cypriot consumer towards organic food – Pancyprian market research

Within the framework of the ORGANIKO LIFE + project, a pan-Cypriot market survey was conducted to understand the behavior model of the Cypriot consumer of organic food. The aim was to investigate in depth the existing behavior and behavioral intentions of Cypriot consumers in the organic food market. The survey was implemented by Dr Pavlos Symeou, Assistant Professor in the Department of Hotel and Tourism Management and his team.

Random, layered analogue sampling was used to select the sample. Phone and personal interviews were used. The sampling unit concerned households from all the cities of free Cyprus and the interviews were taken by adults between the ages of 18-65.

The survey was conducted between April and August 2016: (11/04/2016-30 / 08/2016) with a total sample of 420 households. The sample size allowed us to have a high statistical power (0.83) for statistical analysis.


35% of the interviewees were men and 65% women. The mean age was 36.7 years. The educational level, the country of residence, the number of members in the household, the number of non-adult members, the marital status, the occupation and the income of the household were measured. Our research confirms the principles of the theory of planned behavior according to which:

a) The attitude of the consumer (the extent to which a person has developed a positive or negative evaluation or behavioral assessment)

b) Perceived social influence (perceived social pressure for adopting or not behavior)

c) Perceived control of action (the perception of the individual about the degree of ease or difficulty of adopting a behavior)

  • cause the development of behavioral intentions and result in organic food consumption behaviors

According to the survey results:

–       Consumer attitudes toward organic food consumption are particularly positive.

–       Social norms appear to be perceived in moderate to high intensity.

–       Respondents do not seem to face any particular obstacle to their possible decision to consume organic food, but they believe that organic food is not widely available and that the household does not have the money needed to consume organic food.

–       Their intentions to consume organic food in the future are relatively tepid.

–       40% of households have purchased organic food, whereas the frequency of buying, informing, discussing and other relevant behaviors is moderate.

The natural appearance of organic food does not seem to affect their market, they feel they do not know enough, do not trust the producers, but prefer Cypriot producers. It is also clear that they consider organic food more expensive and it is a reason not to buy.

In the average household:

–        53% of olive oil and eggs are organic, while

–       43% is related to fruit and vegetables and around 20% for bread, meat and dairy products.

On the preference of place to buy organic food:

–       The organic food store and the supermarket are the point of purchase for 65% of households

–       The producer, the grocery store, and the production by the consumer are less preferred.

–       Very small percentage of 7% would buy something from the internet.

It is particularly interesting that:

–       53% are willing to pay up to 10% more for organic food,

–       20% of households are willing to pay up to 25% more while

–       Only 5% are willing to pay up to 50% more.

–       On the contrary, 1/5 are not willing to pay more.

What is clearly deduced from the econometric analysis is that there are:

1. Strong differences between the sexes

  • Women’s subjective norms affect their behavioral intent to buy organic food (not for men)
  • In women, behavioral control affects their intentions more strongly than men (but the effect is great on both)
  • Women’s Intentions are transformed more heavily into behavior than men
  • Both sexes feeling that they have behavioral control are more likely to adopt behavior
  • Age, family size and educational level affect women’s behavior
  • Men evaluate less the cost of the purchase than women

2. Strong differences due to a previous purchase of organic food

  • For people who have purchased organic food in the past, Intent to Purchase leads to more intense adoption of Behavior
  • For people who have consumed organic foods, the effects of Attitude, Norma and Control on Intent are weakening
  • The previous purchase of organic food strengthens the impact of Behavioral Behavior Control

Understanding the behavioral pattern of organic food consumers, we are able to implement targeted interventions that affect it, that involve or concern

–       Organic Food Producers

–       Producers / Consumers Representatives

–       Food Stores

–       Regulatory Authorities and External Financiers who can play a role in shaping the behavior of the Cypriot consumer of organic food


Dr Pavlos Symeou interview on ΚΑΝΑΛΙ 6: KANALI 6 press release