Lawrence Garber examines motivations to buy organic food in emerging markets

The associate professor of marketing’s exploratory study of urban Indian millennials is published in the journal Food Quality and Preference.

In a new research study, Lawrence Garber, associate professor of marketing in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, explores the relative perceptual profiles of organic food consumers who buy out of concern for their health and for the environment, respectively.

headshot of Lawrence Garber
Associate Professor of Marketing Lawrence Garber

Garber co-authored “Motivations to buy organic food in emerging markets: An exploratory study of urban Indian millennials” with Appalachian State University professors Lubna Nafees, Eva Hyatt, Neel Das and Ünal Ö. Boya.

In the Food Quality and Preference article, the authors explain they surveyed a set of urban Indian millennial organic food users to determine their relative perceptions of organic food, including their reasons for buying and consuming it. The group served as representatives of organic food users in emerging markets generally, and as drivers of a burgeoning organic food market in India, which has a huge millennial population.

“These results confirm the primacy of health and environmental motives among urban Indian millennial organic food users, and show that those who buy organic food primarily for their health are pragmatic types mostly concerned about performance and utility, whereas, those who buy primarily to help the environment are social individuals mostly concerned about their appearance to others,” the authors write in the paper’s abstract. “Interestingly, results also indicate an inverse relationship between consumers’ attitude toward organic food and their intention to buy it, suggesting that those consumers who use organic food for health reasons have a greater affinity for organic food, but those consumers who use it for environmental reasons are less price-sensitive and more prone to actually buying it.”

Prior to joining Elon in 2006, Garber taught at Appalachian State University and held roles at Glaxo Pharmaceuticals and BBDO Advertising. He earned his doctorate in business administration with a concentration in marketing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests include visual information processing and persuasion, marketing communication and branding, nonprofit and arts marketing, marketing education and the visual presentation of statistical data.