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Questionnaire vs. social media analysis - case study of organic food

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Pilar, Ladislav (main author), Kvasnickova, Lucie (author), Gresham, George (author), Polakova, Jana (author), Rojik, Stanislav (author), Petkov, Rosen (author)
Journal article
Publication Date:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
appeals (message), communication research, environment, environmental quality, food, networks, questionnaires, research methods, surveys, organic, health, organic food, eco-labeled, ecology, social media, Instagram, social networking, network analysis, food prices, taste, prices, social media analysis, hashtags, hedonism
via online journal, The amount of European farm acreage devoted to organic foods has been increasing each year over the past three decades, as farmers strive to meet consumer demand for these products. To understand what factors drive this demand, researchers have focused on the end customers' perception of organic food and their motivations to purchase it. The standard research methods are questionnaires and literature review; however, these tend to be expensive, time consuming, or involve work with secondary data. This paper compares 14 studies carried out using standard research methods with the results of a social network analysis based on 344,231 posts by 73,380 Instagram users. The result of the comparison shows that in the case of organic food, the characteristic of "healthy" is the most important one to customers, both based on questionnaire surveys and the social network analysis. Moreover, based on these two analyses, 4 key areas can be identified as factors that are important to customers buying organic food: (1) health consciousness, (2) ecological motives, (3) tasty and (4) hedonism. As the results indicate, social network analysis can be considered a method with a high potential for gaining a greater insight into customers' perceptions.