Sustainable Food Consumption Macro Issues: Case Study of Latvian Consumer Behaviour

Sustainable Food Consumption Macro Issues: Case Study of Latvian Consumer Behaviour

Skaidrite Dzene (Latvia University of Agriculture, Latvia), Aija Eglite (Latvia University of Agriculture, Latvia) and Gunta Grinberga-Zalite (Latvia University of Agriculture, Latvia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5880-6.ch008
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Abstract

The chapter presents an analysis of food consumption macro issues in Latvia. The authors have aggregated scientific literature on various aspects of consumption with an emphasis on sustainable consumption fundamental issues. The purpose of the chapter is to characterise the factors affecting consumer behaviour in food consumption and identify the profiles of the sustainable and unsustainable consumer in Latvia. In scope of the research, the authors have performed analysis of business cycle effects on consumption as well as effects of the state support to promote sustainable food consumption. The empirical research aims to study the present and potential behaviours of consumers, identifying their attitudes and intentions towards purchasing sustainable food products.
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Introduction

Nowadays, sustainable food consumption and customer behaviour are important issues both in scientific and political circles, which are never losing their topicality with changing economic conditions.

Shifting consumption patterns towards more sustainable behaviours rely on a robust understanding not just of what motivates consumers, but also on how behavioural change occurs, and how (if at all) it can be influenced by public sector interventions. The actions that people take and choices they make – to consume certain products and services, or to live in certain ways rather than others – all have direct and indirect impacts on the environment, as well as on personal (and collective) well-being (Jackson, 2005).

The aim of this chapter is to analyze the main factors influencing consumer behaviour and their impact on sustainable food choices in Latvia.

To attain the aim, the authors set the following tasks:

  • 1.

    To study scientific literature on various aspects of consumption.

  • 2.

    To analyse factors influencing consumers’ food choice and identify the existing barriers for sustainable food consumption in Latvia.

  • 3.

    To research political framework in sustainable consumption.

  • 4.

    To study the present and potential behaviours of consumers, identifying their attitudes and intentions towards purchasing sustainable food products.

  • 5.

    To identify the profiles of sustainable and unsustainable food consumers in Latvia.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Consumer Profiles: Representation of the consumers' demographic characterization choosing the way of consumption behaviour.

Local Food: Food that is produced in Latvia.

Attitude: The way a person views something or tends to behave towards it; depends on knowledge, habits, education.

Economic Condition: Economic situation with respect to circumstances of economic growth or recession in a particular time period representing the state of personal and collective welfare of citizens/consumers.

Household: One or more persons who live and keep house jointly.

Policy Instruments: The method or mechanism used by government, political parties, business, or individuals to achieve a desired effect through legal or economic means.

Sustainable Food Consumption: The result of deliberate or unconscious actions of consumers focused on purchasing sustainable products to balance consumption and reduce waste, thereby affecting the environment as little as possible by their actions and contributing to the local economy and social responsibility by their choices.

Behaviour: The aggregate of all the responses (divulging of the will or intention) made by consumer in the situation of choosing the products.

Consumption Habit: A learned behavioural response that has become associated with a frequently repeated situation.

Sustainable Food: A food that is traceable at all stages of the food chain, is produced and processed by efficiently exploiting local resources of production, by taking care of the environment, biodiversity, and animal welfare, and by ensuring fair and adequate incomes for employees engaged in the food chain, as well as is healthy and safe to consumers.

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