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Abstract

This paper uses a qualitative marketing research technique to explore in-depth sensory experiences, expectations, and perceptions of organic consumers when purchasing and eating organic food. Five focus-group interviews supported by semi-structured questionnaire were performed in Italy during 2009. Findings suggest that sensory attributes may be more relevant for older than for younger participants. Consumers largely agree that organic food should differ from conventional items, but variety is also expected among organic products themselves. Appearance and odor appear to be the most important sensory attributes when consumers purchase food, while tase and odor are the most important attributes when eating. Sensory-related information seems to play a crucial role when consumers are choosing which product to buy for the first time.

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