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Organic food has become more popular with consumers and PhD student Maria Massey is figuring out why that is.

Maria dug into archives to find out how consumers perceive 'organic' food. She examined 124,353 consumer comments on the reasons they purchase organic food across 150 manuscripts, published from 1991 to 2016.

She found that consumers buy organic food based on perceived benefits to health and the environment, rather than actual benefits, and people are not clear what defines a product as ‘organic’.

To dig even deeper, Maria then surveyed over 400 Australian consumers of organic food.

“Consumers of organic food are more likely to buy a product if it has a certified organic label, is locally sourced and is in sustainable packaging like paper, cardboard or glass,” Mrs Massey said.

"Out of these three factors, local origin has the biggest impact on choice."

Mrs Massey submitted her PhD thesis in February 2019. She has already published a paper that outlines why consumers purchase organic food with two more in review.

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