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Organic shopping basket

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Comparing conventional and organic grocery shopping

Consumers who mostly buy organic food products are known to be more environmentally aware, to care more about animal welfare, and to prefer wholesome, less processed food. However, it was not yet clear whether specific product characteristics – such as the degree of processing, the kinds of ingredients and additives, the packaging – play a role. The objective of the 'Impact Organic Shopping Basket' project (2013 to 2015) was to determine which environmental and health criteria play a role in purchasing decisions with regard to organic products. 


Organic eating consumers (> 90% of food purchases organic) had more unprocessed and healthy products like fruit and vegetables in their shopping baskets than the ‘conventional’ consumers (< 10% of food purchases organic). From data on their eating behaviour it seemed that organic consumers eat more in accordance with the guidelines of a healthy eating scheme than conventional consumers. Also, they had less plastic waste than the conventional consumers. Download the report (2017, in Dutch, with summary in English).

Research methodology

In this study, the food purchasing behaviour of two groups of consumers was followed during several weeks. One group consisted of 'organic consumers' while the other consists of 'conventional consumers'. Aspects such as the type of products purchased, packaging waste and the amount of prepared food ending up in the organic waste bin were also included.  The resulting insights will help the organic sector to better tailor the supply of organic products to the expectations and wishes of consumers.

The 'Impact Organic Shopping Basket' project was funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. It was carried out by the Louis Bolk Institute and Wageningen University & Research Centre, in collaboration with Udea, Bio+, Odin and Ekoplaza (organic food suppliers and organic supermarkets).