Analysis of Organic Product Consumption Trends among Urban Consumers in Nairobi, Kenya
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Organic product food trade represents one of the fastest growing food chains globally. Consumption of organic products in Kenya has increased. This is evidenced by the emergence of products labeled organic in the market, specialised organic green grocer shelves stocking organic products in major supermarkets, organic menus and specialised organic restaurants in major cities. While the main drivers for organic demand in developed countries have been documented, this is not the case for Kenya. There is a dearth of knowledge on why consumers opt to consume organic products, yet, such information is important for informing the policy making processes, consumer education and informing producers so that they produce to meet consumer's expectations. Most organic farmers are small scale producers and for them to benefit from economic opportunity provided by increased demand for organic products there is need to understand the key drivers of organic consumption. This will help to develop good strategies to match production with consumer requirements and expectations. This study analysed organic consumption trends among urban Consumers in Nairobi metropolitan. The main objective was to determine the key drivers of organic food consumption. Data was collected through a questionnaire administered to 308 consumers. Following the Lancaster consumer's demand theory the study assumed that consumer's utility depends on product characteristics instead of the product itself. Thus, consumers will choose the product (organic versus conventional) that possesses the combination of attributes that maximises their utility. Consumer's choice for organic foods was thus analysed within a specified random utility discrete choice model. Findings indicate that economic and socio-demographic factors (income, employment, education, household size and age) influence organic consumption in Kenya. Consumers' perceived benefits of organic food (health and nutrition) promote demand for organic products. It is thus recommended that consumer awareness through provision of information on organic food products. This is crucial to expand demand since this information will increase consumer's organic knowledge and the higher the organic knowledge the higher probability to buy organic foods. These findings are useful to the government, organic consumers, producers and development agencies in developing strategies to match production and consumption.