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Market trends and consumer profile at the organic farmers market in Costa Rica

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this study is to provide information to local authorities, consumers, retailers and vendors of organic agricultural products. The information could be used for the development of long-term strategies for local organic market development based on the consumer profile information of buyers at the organic market, as well as its evolution and motivations that moved them to start and to continue purchasing organic products. In order to identify reliable trends and potential changes in the quantity and quality of the profile of the organic consumer, could the information also be be used for local market developments strategies. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A total of six studies were conducted at Costa Rica's largest local organic farmers market "La Feria del Trueque", during the same period every year during the month of February, covering an eight-year period. The six surveys became three mega databases: one for the 1999/2000 period, another for the 2004/2005 and one finally for the 2007/2008 period. Findings ‐ The study finds that the organic consumer is usually highly educated, has a high income, is concerned with health and environmental problems, has a smaller than average family with men being more involved in the purchase of organic products and living in suburbia rather than from the metropolitan areas. Practical implications ‐ After a decade of expansion, the Costa Rican organic products market is starting to show signs of consolidation. However, the volume, the available varieties and guaranteed supply will decide the future direction of the market. Relocating the market closer to the consumer will benefit the overall sales. Originality/value ‐ The paper gives an in-depth insight into the organic market of today and is a valuable addition to the present literature.
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Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Costa Rica; Customer satisfaction; Marketing; Organic foods

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 16 May 2009

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