The Chinese organic shopper

The latest organic consumer research in China reveals most organic consumers chose organic because of its environmental benefits.

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Australian Organic’s Joanne Barber met with Organic and Beyond in May.

The research was conducted by China Beijing Organic and Beyond Corporation (OABC), an organic home delivery business with a customer base of 400,000 families, six branches and 300 employees.

Its survey of 781 customers showed that most respondents (41 per cent) had a good knowledge of what certified organic food was, while 16 per cent didn’t know what organic meant.

Most people surveyed buy organic because of its benefit to the environment (53 per cent). Twenty four per cent bought organic out of personal willingness while the remainder had no obvious motivation.

Most of Organic and Beyond’s customers are between 30 and 40 years old, hold bachelor degrees and have children between three and 10 years old. They are middle class. The average family income is between 10 – 50,000 Chinese Yuan (10,000 Yuan is equivalent to $1,725.00 Australian dollars).

The main organic exporters to China are the United States, Australia and the European Union. The country is increasingly showing interest in organic gourmet foods, childrens’ foods, dairy products and fresh tropical and dried fruits.

Australian Certified Organic works closely with a number of Chinese companies including Organic and Beyond to help us understand the market and opportunities for our clients. As the largest organic certifier in Australia we host a handful of delegates from China periodically throughout the year and we will seek out opportunities for clients at the AUSVEG national conference in June this year.

The International Trade Centre produced one of the most comprehensive reports on the organic market in China in 2011. It breaks the Chinese organic consumer into eight main groups: white collar families (40 per cent of the market), families with young children, families with health issues, overseas returnees, business people from Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong (China), government officials, young people and foreigners living in China.

The report quotes a consumer study of 204 Chinese organic buyers, which showed 71 per cent of shoppers were prepared to pay up to 50 per cent more for organic food. Most buy from supermarkets and they buy organic because it represented enforced quality, overall quality, food safety and nutritional value. Most buy it because it’s perceived to be safer. This motivation for purchasing differs from the Organic and Beyond survey suggesting a possible shift in consumer motives or a difference in survey design.

For more information click here.

To find out more about the agreement Australian Certified Organic signed with China click here.