Consumer behavior of organic products: an application of the theory of planned behavior


  • Alexia Hoppe Unisinos
  • Márcia Dutra de Barcellos PPGA/UFRGS
  • Luciana Marques Vieira UNISINOS
  • Celso Augusto de Matos Unisinos


alimentos orgânicos, comportamento do consumidor, Teoria do Comportamento Planejado


Consumer behavior has been an important topic in academic studies as well as for companies’ strategies. According to the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), human behavior is grounded on three constructs: (i) behavioral beliefs, (ii) normative beliefs, and (iii) control beliefs. It is widely recognized that patterns of food consumption have undergone rapid change over the past few years as a result of concerns about environmental sustainability, development, nutritional aspects and also health issues. This study examines the motivations behind the consumer’s decision to purchase organic food, based on the Theory of Planned Behavior, testing a model in the Brazilian context. A survey with 446 consumers was carried out at supermarkets  and farmers’ markets in Brazil and the Structural Equation Modeling technique was used to test the model, which is partially validated and presents good fit measures. The findings show that individual values and benefits are significant predictors of the consumer’s attitude toward organic food. However, subjective norms were not well accepted by the sample. Attitude and availability are significantly related to the intention to purchase organic food, but there still a gap between attitude and behavior. The results present features of consumers of organic food in Brazil and validate a TPB model. 

Key words: organic food, consumer behavior, Theory of Planned Behavior

Author Biographies

Alexia Hoppe, Unisinos

Engenheira de Alimentos pela UFRGS e Mestre em Administração Unisinos. Doutoranda do PPG Administração Unisinos.

Márcia Dutra de Barcellos, PPGA/UFRGS

Doutora em Agronegócios CEPAN/UFRGS. Professora do PPG em Administração UFRGS

Luciana Marques Vieira, UNISINOS

PhD em Agricultural and Food Economics, the University of Reading, Inglaterra. Professora PPG Administração Unisinos

Celso Augusto de Matos, Unisinos

Doutor em Administração pelo PPGA/Ufrgs. Professor PPG Administração Unisinos