Questionnaire vs. Social Media Analysis - Case Study of Organic Food

DOI 10.7160/aol.2018.100308
No 3/2018, September
pp. 93-101

Pilař, L., Kvasničková Stanislavská, L., Gresham, G., Poláková, J., Rojík, S. and Petkov, R. (2018) “Questionnaire vs. Social Media Analysis - Case Study of Organic Food", AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 93-101. ISSN 1804-1930. DOI 10.7160/aol.2018.100308.


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.


Organic food, questionnaire, social media analysis, hashtag, healthy.


  1. Antoniou, I. E. and Tsompa, T. (2008) “Statistical analysis of weighted networks“, Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society, Vol. 1, pp. 1-16. ISSN 10260226. DOI 10.1155/2008/375452.
  2. Asif, M., Xuhui, W., Nasiri. A. and Ayyub, S. (2018) “Determinant factors influencing organic food purchase intention and the moderating role of awareness: A comparative analysis“, Food Quality and Preference, Vol. 63, pp. 144-150. ISSN 09503293. DOI 10.1016/j.foodqual.2017.08.006.
  3. Aslam, S. (2018) "Instagram by the Numbers: Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 18 April, 2018].
  4. Basha, M. B., Mason, C., Shamsudin, M. F., Hussain, H. I. and Salem, M. A. (2015) “Consumers Attitude Towards Organic Food“, Procedia Economics and Finance, Vol. 31, pp. 444-452. ISSN 22125671. DOI 10.1016/S2212-5671(15)01219-8.
  5. Bauer, H. H., Heinrich, D. and Schäfer, D. B. (2013) “The effects of organic labels on global, local, and private brands. More hype than substance?“, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 66, No. 8, pp. 1035–1043. ISSN 01482963. DOI 10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.12.028.
  6. Brennan, C., Gallagher, K. and McEachern, M. (2003) “A review of the 'consumer interest' in organic meat“, International Journal of Consumer Studies, Vol. 27, No. 5, pp. 381–394. ISSN 1470-6423. DOI 10.1046/j.1470-6431.2003.00307.x.
  7. Brožová, I. and Beranová, M. (2017) “A Comparative Analysis of Organic and Conventional Farming Profitability“, AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 3-15. ISSN 1804-1930. DOI 10.7160/aol.2017.090101.
  8. Bryla, P. (2016) “Organic food consumption in Poland: Motives and barriers“, Appetite, Vol. 105, pp. 737-746. ISSN 10958304. DOI 10.1016/j.appet.2016.07.012.
  9. Cambridge Dictionary (2018) “vegetarian“, Cambridge Dictionary. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 20 April, 2018].
  10. Gruzd A. (2016) "Netlytic: Software for Automated Text and Social Network Analysis", [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15 April, 2018].
  11. Hansen, T., Sørensen, M. I. and Eriksen, M. L. R. (2018) “How the interplay between consumer motivations and values influences organic food identity and behavior“, Food Policy, 74, pp. 39-52. ISSN 03069192. DOI 10.1016/j.foodpol.2017.11.003.
  12. Hasimu, H., Marchesini, S. and Canavari, M. (2017) “A concept mapping study on organic food consumers in Shanghai, China“, Appetite, Vol. 108, pp. 191-202. ISSN 10958304. DOI 10.1016/j.appet.2016.09.019.
  13. Heiss, S., Coffino, J. A. and Hormes, J. M. (2017) “Eating and health behaviors in vegans compared to omnivores: Dispelling common myths“, Appetite, Vol. 118, pp. 129-135. ISSN 10958304. DOI 10.1016/j.appet.2017.08.001.
  14. Huber, M., Rembialkowska, E., Średnicka, D., Bügel, S. and Van De Vijver, L. P. L. (2011) “Organic food and impact on human health: Assessing the status quo and prospects of research“, NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, pp. 103-109. ISSN 15735214. DOI 10.1016/j.njas.2011.01.004.
  15. Chekima, B., Oswald, A, Wafa, S. A. W. S. K. and Chekima, K. (2017) “Narrowing the gap: Factors driving organic food consumption“, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 166, pp. 1438-1447. ISSN 09596526. DOI 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.08.086.
  16. Irianto, H. (2015) “Consumers’ Attitude and Intention towards Organic Food Purchase: An Extension of Theory of Planned Behavior in Gender Perspective“, International Journal of Management Economics and Social Sciences, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 17-31.[Online]. Available: http://www.ijmess. com. [Accessed: 20 April, 2018]. ISSN 2304-1366.
  17. Lea, E. and Worsley, A. (2007) “Australian consumers’ food-related environmental beliefs and behaviours“, Appetite, Vol. 50, No. 2–3, pp. 207-214. ISSN 01956663. DOI 10.1016/j.appet.2005.07.012.
  18. Malthouse, E. C., Haenlein, M., Skiera, B., Wege, B. and Zhang, M. (2013) “Managing customer relationships in the social media era: Introducing the social CRM house“, Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 270–280. ISSN 10949968. DOI 10.1016/j.intmar.2013.09.008.
  19. Mohamad, S. S., Rusdi, S. D. and Hashim, N. H. (2014) “Organic Food Consumption among Urban Consumers: Preliminary Results“, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 130, pp. 509-514. ISSN 18770428. DOI 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.04.059.
  20. Petticrew, M. and Roberts, H. (2008) "Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide", 336 p. ISBN 9781405121101. DOI 10.1002/9780470754887.
  21. Pilař, L., Poláková, J., Gresham, G., Rojík, S. and Tichá, I. (2017) “Why People use Hashtags when Visiting Farmers ́ Markets“, Agrarian Perspectives XXVI: Compettitiveness of European Agriculture and Food Sectors: Proceedings of the 26th International Scientific Conference on Agrarian Perspectives, Prague, Czech Republic, pp. 287-292. ISBN 1804-1930X.
  22. Pilař, L., Balcarová, T., Rojík, S., Tichá, I. and Poláková, J. (2018) “Customer experience with farmers’ markets: what hashtags can reveal“, International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, Vol. 21, No. 6, pp. 755-770. ISSN 1559-2448. DOI 10.22434/IFAMR2017.0039.
  23. Popa, M. E., Mitelut, A. C., Popa, E. A., Stan, A and Popa, V. I. (2018) “Organic foods contribution to nutritional quality and value“, Trends in Food Science & Technology, in press. ISSN 0924-2244. DOI 10.1016/J.TIFS.2018.01.003.
  24. Singh, A. and Verma, P. (2017) “Factors influencing Indian consumers’ actual buying behaviour towards organic food products“, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 167, pp. 473-483. ISSN 09596526. DOI 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.08.106.
  25. Stehfest, E. (2014) “Diet: Food choices for health and planet“, Nature, Vol. 515, pp. 501-502. ISSN 1476-4687. DOI 10.1038/nature13943.
  26. Statista (2017) “Number of worldwide social network users 2010-2021“, Statistic. Statista. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 15 April, 2018].
  27. Teng, C. C. and Lu, C. H. (2016) “Organic food consumption in Taiwan: Motives, involvement, and purchase intention under the moderating role of uncertainty“, Appetite, Vol. 105, pp. 95-105. ISSN 10958304. DOI 10.1016/j.appet.2016.05.006.
  28. Ueasangkomsate, P. and Santiteerakul, S. (2016) “A Study of Consumers’ Attitudes and Intention to Buy Organic Foods for Sustainability“, Procedia Environmental Sciences, Vol. 34, pp. 423-430. ISSN 18780296. DOI 10.1016/j.proenv.2016.04.037.
  29. Vaněk, J., Brožová, I., Masner, J., Šimek, P. and Vogeltanzová, T. (2013) “Information support of regions - organic farming“, Agris On-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 97–104. ISSN 18041930.
  30. Willer, H. and Lernoud, J. (2016) “The world of organic agriculture. Statistics and emerging trends“, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL and IFOAM Organics International. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 5 April, 2018]. ISSN 0014-4797.
  31. Wilson, C. (2013) “Questionnaires and Surveys“, in "Credible Checklists and Quality Questionnaires", Morgan Koufmann, pp. 29–79. ISSN 9780124103924. DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-410392-4.00002-7.
  32. Worthington, V. (2001) “Nutritional quality of organic versus conventional fruits, vegetables, and grains “, Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 161-173. ISSN 1075-5535. DOI 10.1089/107555301750164244.
  33. Yadav, R. and Pathak, G. S. (2016) “Intention to purchase organic food among young consumers: Evidences from a developing nation“, Appetite, Vol. 96, pp. 122-128. ISSN 10958304. DOI 10.1016/j.appet.2015.09.017.
  34. Zagata, L. (2012) “Consumers’ beliefs and behavioural intentions towards organic food. Evidence from the Czech Republic“, Appetite, Vol. 59, No. 1, pp. 81-89. ISSN 01956663. DOI 10.1016/j.appet.2012.03.023.

Full paper

  Full paper (.pdf, 702.28 KB).