Date of Conferral







Kimberley Cox


The majority of organic foods consumed by Americans are sourced internationally, which has global-reaching implications on health, economics, and sustainability. Current research findings show that environmental devastation and negative health outcomes have resulted from unsustainable, nonorganic agricultural practices; including herbicides, pesticides, and overcultivation. However, there is a lack of quantitative research on factors that motivate Americans to consume organic food. Based on the theory of planned behavior, this quantitative study employed an online survey to examine the role of attitudes, subjective norms, descriptive norms, and perceived behavioral control on the intention and behavior of American consumers to consume organic foods. Additional descriptors of willingness to pay and perceived product attributes were also measured. Theory of planned behavior and American Organic Consumption questionnaires were completed by 276 adult consumers in the United States. Multiple regression analyses were performed to identify relationships and create predictive models between constructs of a modified theory of planned behavior, sociodemographics, and organic consumption. Key findings revealed that a modified theory of planned behavior, which included descriptive norms, predicted intent to consume organics stronger than the nonmodified theory of planned behavior. Attitudes, perceived behavioral control, and descriptive norms were significant predictors of intention to consume organics. Health was perceived as the major product attribute for organic consumption and low willingness to pay was perceived as the major barrier. This study has implications for positive social change such that it contributes to understanding motivational factors behind American's food choices and consumption, which can be used to modify and target consumer behaviors and market campaigns.