Predicting organic food consumption: A meta-analytic structural equation model based on the theory of planned behavior

Andrea Scalco*, Stefano Noventa, Riccardo Sartori, Andrea Ceschi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

183 Citations (Scopus)


During the last decade, the purchase of organic food within a sustainable consumption context has gained momentum. Consequently, the amount of research in the field has increased, leading in some cases to discrepancies regarding both methods and results. The present review examines those works that applied the theory of planned behavior (TPB; Ajzen, 1991) as a theoretical framework in order to understand and predict consumers' motivation to buy organic food. A meta-analysis has been conducted to assess the strength of the relationships between attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and intention, as well as between intention and behavior. Results confirm the major role played by individual attitude in shaping buying intention, followed by subjective norms and perceived behavioral control. Intention-behavior shows a large effect size, few studies however explicitly reported such an association. Furthermore, starting from a pooled correlation matrix, a meta-analytic structural equation model has been applied to jointly evaluate the strength of the relationships among the factors of the original model. Results suggest the robustness of the TPB model. In addition, mediation analysis indicates a potential direct effect from subjective norms to individual attitude in the present context. Finally, some issues regarding methodological aspects of the application of the TPB within the context of organic food are discussed for further research developments. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-248
Number of pages14
Early online date7 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Sustainable consumption
  • Organic food
  • Meta-analysis
  • Structural equation model
  • Review


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