2.1. A Conceptual Framework and Hypotheses Development
In this paper, the TPB model was used as a theoretical foundation to elucidate organic food purchase intention among health-conscious consumers in Malaysia and Indonesia (25). The TPB was developed in 1991 by Ajzen from the former (26) theory of reasoned action. The TPB states that a particular behavior of an individual is drive by an individual intention to perform that action (25). The intention mirrors individual motivations and cognitive preparation for performing the behavior. The intention is determined by three vital factors of subjective norm, attitude, and perceived behavioral control (25). Attitude mirrors the negative or positive assessment of the individual behavioral consequences (27). Subjective norm mirrors how the individual perceived social pressure influence the performance of a particular behavior, whereas perceived behavioral control is associated with the person’s perception of his/her capability to perform that particular behavior. The TPB variables were proved to be important predictors of a variety of food choices including organic foods purchase (18–21). Figure 2 depicts that the three fundamental factors of individual behavior: subjective norm, attitude, and perceived behavioral control are fundamental antecedents of individual intention to perform a particular behavioral intention, and consequently mediate these antecedents with individual actual behavior (28).
The present paper aims to investigate factors that influence healthy conscious consumers’ purchase intention of organic food, TPB is used as the foundation of the current study because of its robustness and wide applications in understanding consumer purchase decisions in various studies (19–21). For instance, if health-conscious consumers have a positive attitude to engage in a particular behavior (e.g., purchasing organic food), and believe the approval and support of friends and family to purchasing organic food, then health-conscious consumers are more expected to perform the actual behavior of the purchase (29). Concerning the TPB predictive power in the existing literature especially in the context of organic food purchase, the TPB explained a 24% variance of the individuals’ intention to purchase organic food (30) and 83% in the study of Thøgersen, (31). TPB also explained 82% variance of the individuals’ intention to purchase organic food in the study of Tarkiainen and Sundqvist (32). Dowd and Burke (33) also established the robustness of this model in investigating organic food purchases explaining 62% variation in intention.
Within the framework of organic food purchase intentions, nevertheless, two major types of investigations can be differentiated: studies from marketing context that are largely paying attention to the comprehension of consumers’ motivations and those largely paying attention from industrial ecology that is typically concerned in the impact of individual consumer’s behaviors (34,35). While the subsequent approach centered on the outcome of individual behavior, the earlier examines the motivations behind the behaviors. Therefore, following the first approach, an extensive variety of studies within the organic food purchase literature has used TPB (36) as the theoretical foundation for examining the various factors that make healthy conscious consumers’ behavioral intentions towards the purchase of organic food products (19–21).
Prior studies point out that health-conscious consumers are more expected to pay a high premium for the quality of organic foods products (18–22). Given the fast and accelerated buying and sales of organic foods products, understanding the important antecedents that influence health-conscious consumers’ organic food product purchase intentions is necessary for producers of organic products, marketing specialists, green restaurateurs, suppliers, and policymakers to apply thriving strategies. Reviewed of the earlier literature reported that health-conscious consumers’ motives of purchase intentions of organic food include wholesome lifestyle, health concerns, concerns of the environment, food safety concern, and protection of animal welfare, among others. Very limited studies investigated the influence of health consciousness, environmental concern, and innovativeness on healthy conscious consumers’ food purchase intentions. Using TPB, this study not only incorporated health consciousness, environmental concern, and innovativeness as antecedents of purchase intentions but also added a healthy lifestyle as the outcome of health-conscious consumers’ purchase intention in Asia. The conceptual framework was in Figure 2.
2.2. Purchase intention
In psychological research, human behaviors are generally considered measurable and observable (37). The psychologies categorized human behaviors to include individual attitudes, his/her thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, and intentions (37). The word “intention” is defined differently across studies by various authors. Ajzen (38) offered the most generally accepted definition of behavioral intention as “indications of a person’s readiness to perform a behavior” (p. 1122). Interestingly, the main focus of this paper is to study the antecedents of health-conscious consumers’ intention to purchase organic food products in Asia. A range of empirical studies recognized that consumers’ behavioral intentions to purchase a particular product are the major determinant of their actual behavior (23). For example, Ajzen (28) reported that the most vital factors that decide consumers’ actual purchase of a particular product are the consumers’ intention. Consumers’ behavioral intentions variable is widely researched to understand various factors that influence consumers’ purchase of organic products (39).
In the Ajzen TPB model, the intention is referred to as the consumers’ willingness, effort, and plan toward purchasing a product (19,20,28). In other words, consumers’ intentions specify their maximum likelihood to engage in a particular action soon (28). Spears and Singh (40) refer to consumers’ purchase intention as “an individual’s conscious plan to make an effort to purchase a product”. Organic food purchase intention is defined as the health-conscious consumers’ readiness and willingness to purchase organic food products articulated by the consumers for the friendly to the environment and have health benefits (39). In other words, consumers who are willing to purchase organic products are mainly concerned about the products' ecological quality and the consequences of the environment related to their purchasing decision (19–21).
The organic food products industry is growing rapidly in Indonesia and Malaysia, as demand has increased because of health-conscious consumers’ growing awareness regarding the health benefits of consuming organic food (34,35). Since health-conscious consumers consider eating organic food as advantageous to their health, their positive attitudes have drastically influenced their purchase intention (21,35).
2.3. Health consciousness
Due to the pandemic crisis, it is important to conceptualize e-health literacy to understand better health consciousness among consumers (41). Chen (42) opined that health factors such as health consciousness should be considered while making organic food purchasing decisions. This is because one of the major motives for consumers to buy organic food is for their health (43). Likewise, the motivation of consumers towards health-related food such as organic food is to prevent them from disease or improve their health and thus, is one of the important factors for purchase behavior and intentions (24,42). Health consciousness refers to individuals’ readiness to take on healthy actions or behavior that will improve their health rather than taking on the general unhealthy consumption patterns (42,43). In other words, health consciousness refers to the motivational elements that encourage consumers to carry out health actions (44). Consumers who have health-conscious in purchase decisions are usually aware and concerned regarding their health and wellness. Additionally, these consumers are self-conscious about their health and are motivated on any purchase decision to enhance and/or maintain their health, healthy lifestyle, and quality of life (42).
Compared with consumers high in health consciousness, consumers low in health consciousness have less motivation to engage in healthy actions (42,43), choose unhealthy foods (42–44). Forthofer and Bryant (45) opined that consumers high in health consciousness are considered as “targets of greatest opportunity” (p. 37) since such consumers are more expected to engage in healthy actions, are considered to buy organic food that includes higher nutritional values because of health advantages involved (42–44). Healthy conscious consumers used to express interest in matters concerning food to avoid any food that is dangerous to their health and wellbeing (42). Thus, when making purchase intentions, healthiness is a significant determinant and the parameters for these consumers (46). Earlier empirical studies reported that a consumer’s health consciousness is significantly and positively linked with his/her purchase intention toward organic foods (42,47,48). Therefore, the following hypothesis is advanced:
Hypothesis 1: Health consciousness has a positive and significant effect on the purchase intention
2.4. Environmental Concern
Environmental Concern has received a lot of attention in both academia and business because of the increase in air pollution due to carbon dioxide emission (49). Environmental behaviorists always treated the environmental concern construct as an individual consumer’s degree of concern related to environmental matters (50). Lee (51) defined environmental concern as consumers’ assessment of environmental factors deciding to buy a particular product or service and reported environmental concern influences consumers’ purchase intention. Therefore, the environmental concern construct is vital in understanding consumers’ purchase intention of organic product that is friendly to the environment. Even though consumers’ environmental concern is new inclinations that can be influenced by other factors (52). Kaygusuz (49) reported that consumers’ environmental concern is linked with such factors as knowledge, education level, and experiences. For example, consumers’ positive feelings acquired through experiences in his/her natural environment can motivate environmental concerns (22,52). Similarly, the state of the natural surroundings can affect consumers’ environmental concerns. A typical example of this is China’s air pollution. Consumers are said to be high in environmental concern if they identify the impact of their activities or actions on the natural environment (52).
In the context of food consumption, more consumers are nowadays vegetarians compared to a few years back (53). Consumers are not only adopting a vegetarian lifestyle because of health concerns, consumers now are accepting a vegetarian lifestyle because of the environment (49). Organic food products, which are produced using natural farming techniques, decrease the contamination of groundwater and the soil because pesticides and fertilizers that are destructive to the environment are not applied to the soil. Earlier studies reported that organic product consumers buy organic food by considering environmental issues (53). Prior investigations submitted that environmental concern is directly and significantly influences consumers’ attitude towards organic products (22,52) and consequently influences their purchase intention (50). The idea is that high environmental concern consumers are always and directly have a positive attitude toward organic food which increases their level of purchase intention. Therefore, the following hypothesis is advanced:
Hypothesis 2: Environmental concern has a positive significant effect on the Purchase intention
2.5. Consumer Innovativeness
Innovativeness is a consumer innate which refers to the ‘‘predisposition to buy new and differentiated products and brands rather than remain with previous choices and consumer patterns’’ (54). Innovativeness can also be seen as individuals’ predisposition to willingly accept change and/or attempt new products or services rather than taking on the general unhealthy consumption patterns (55,56) and willingly buy new products/services more quickly and frequently than others (56). Therefore, consumer innovativeness is referring to the consumers’ desire to look out for novelty and arousal from particular new products/services (56). Midgley and Dowling (57) conceptualized consumer innovativeness as the extent to which consumers are receptive to new products/services, ideas, and choose to accept new technology not considering the other consumers’ experiences. Venkatraman, (58) categorizes innovativeness in two: sensorial and cognitive innovativeness. Cognitive innovativeness is the consumers’ predisposition to rationalize, reflect, and solve problems. In this case, the consumers are always looking for a novel experience that possibly will arouse their mental actions or activities. Moreover, it is fruitful to note that manufacturers should increase their entrepreneurial skills and acquisition (59) in providing better health services to health-conscious customers.
Healthy conscious consumers concurrently consider product assimilation and differentiation while intending to purchase a particular product or service (54). The tendency to accept unconventional lifestyles is what differs from health-conscious consumers to conservative consumers (56,60). Health-conscious consumers are generally willing to try a new product such as organic food can be described as “global consumer innovativeness” (56,60). Consumer innovativeness is likely to be determined by novelty-seeking, need for uniqueness, and stimulation needs (56). Earlier studies have established consumer innovativeness construct as a significant factor affecting consumers’ product adoption especially organic food (56,60). Thus, innovative consumers are more likely and easily accept new products/services and/or technologies (56). Besides, innovative consumers of organic food generate high attitudes related to organic food attributes compared with conservative consumers (55). Given that, consumer innovativeness level, which is regarded as a consumer’s characteristic (57), could positively affect the linkage between consumers’ product innovativeness and organic food purchase intention in this study. Therefore, the following hypothesis is advanced:
Hypothesis 3: Consumer innovativeness has a positive significant effect on the Purchase intention
2.6. Healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle refers to the customers’ modifications in health behavior following the constant purchase of organic food (61). In this study, a healthy lifestyle refers to behaviors that health-conscious customers consider and accept which sustain their well-being such as constant intake of organic products (62). For instance, a healthy lifestyle includes controlling weight and regular eating of organic fruits or organic vegetables (61,62). A healthy consumption lifestyle is consumer orientation towards the prevention of product that causes health problems(63). Therefore, a healthy consumption lifestyle is the customers’ consumption activities and actions which include consumption of organic food for better health and life prosperity (64). Healthy conscious consumers are more likely to make efforts and activities that are beneficial for their health, reducing body weight by doing sports activities, consuming organic food that will enhance their healthy lifestyle (64). Since they have a positive attitude and intentions toward purchasing organic food products. Therefore, organic food products are important for consumers’ healthy lifestyles.
Customers who consider the health benefit of a product, taste, and environmental protection and consider improving their lifestyle are the potential customers and consumers of organic food (14,61). Customers from the healthy lifestyle category are orientated toward health and are pleased with the lifestyle that concentrates on health (14). In consumer behavior literature, scholars’ reported that consumers’ lifestyle will decide their consumption attitude and behavior towards purchasing organic food (14,65). In their study, scholars (65) advocated that a healthy lifestyle influences a healthy conscious customer’s behavioral intention towards organic and environmentally friendly products. Their findings are in line with the finding of Sagheb, Ghasemi, and Nourbakhsh (66) and Güney, and Giraldo (64) that reported a healthy lifestyle is positively related to a health-conscious consumer’s attitude towards the organic product. Hence, the higher the health-conscious consumers’ propensity to eat organic food that will improve their healthy lifestyle, the high the consumers’ intention to purchase organic products. Therefore, the following hypothesis is advanced:
Hypothesis 4: Purchase intention has a positive significant effect on the Healthy lifestyle
2.7. Brand credibility identifications
The concept of credibility is generally distinguished as the trustworthiness of an entity’s (e.g., brand) intents at a specific instance (67). Scholars have conceived credibility mainly based on two dimensions: (1) trustworthiness, and (2) expertise (68). Ergo, brand credibility has been described as the believability of the product information enclosed in a brand, which necessitates that consumers recognize that the brand has the expertise (e.g., ability) and trustworthiness (e.g., intents) to constantly offer what has been pledged (68,69) Thereby, consumers identify the brand's credibility by engaging in an appraisal mechanism that outlines the cumulative credibility of a brand (70). According to the brand signaling theory, consumers identify the credibility based on the underlay produced by the brand’s echoed expertise and trustworthiness. This phenomenon indeed involves the aggregated influences attached to the brand’s past and present communicated commitments and marketing strategies that symbolize credibility to the consumers (71). The consumers evaluate the informational content of the brand to evaluate or identify its credibility. On the other hand, a plethora of literature suggests that brand function as an indicator has clarified that brand credibility can be eroded if a brand does not provide what has been promised (71,72) The trust determination theory also sheds light on the significance of the credible source of the information, it emphasizes that information from a trustworthy source can formulate favorable behavior (73). Since the information impending from the brand appraised as credible by the consumer can diminish the suspicions and lead them to act favorably.
Most of the consumer behavior research also affirmed that brand credibility identification is a prevailing psychological phenomenon that prompts the purchasing instinct of consumers (72). For instance, studies have explored the brand credibility positively predicts behavioral outcomes such as consumer satisfaction (71,72) and purchase-making decisions (74). However, from the risk communication perspective, owing to health safety potential apprehensions consumers’ take more conscious decisions about the selection of innovative food products (71,73). Psychological theories such as the heuristic-systematic enlightened that individuals do not only be influenced by the communicated product information but also contemplate the source of information (e.g., brand credibility) (71). The information processing mechanism, thus, includes the evaluation of the brand credibility that serves as a functional cue to reduce apparent uncertainties. Lassoued and Hobbs (74) described that food consumers sense more confidence about brands that have a good reputation for food safety. Within the food consumption context, the literature suggests that brand credibility has a substantial influence on consumers’ buying behavior (67) consumer trust in the usage of innovative foods (75), and reduction in food safety concerns (76). Therefore, a higher level of consumer perceived identification of brand credibility generates more inclination towards purchasing the Healthy foods’ product and we hypothesized that:
Hypothesis 5: Brand credibility identification has a positive significant effect on the Healthy foods’ purchase intention
2.8. Brand Image Identifications
Brand image is an aggregate term that represents the consumers’ overall perceptions, feelings, uniqueness of associations, favorability, beliefs, appraisals about a brand developed through their experiences (77,78). The consumer identifies brand image by inferring the association, attitude, belief, evaluation, and overall impression of a brand (79). Therefore, brand image is associated with consumers’ understanding of the brand that develops over time and characterizes the symbolic meaning of consumption to them (80). Alamsyah, Othman, and Mohammed (81) noted that brand image reflects a unique identification to consumers from other counterparts’ brands in the marketplace. Hence, a favorable brand image is indispensable for the brands concerning consumer behavior (82). In this regard, it plays a significant role in assisting consumers to make purchasing decisions whether to purchase or repurchase a particular (81). Therefore, brand image is an all-inclusive demonstration of numerous aspects of the brand in the minds of consumers (83). According to Hien, Phuong, Tran & Thang (54) the consumer responses to a brand's marketing practices are constantly determined by an affirmative association between a brand and its anticipated characteristics symbolic meanings in the minds of consumers.
In verily, setting up a good brand image identification is an imperative undertaking of food marketers and enterprises (82). Consumers when encounter marketing activity of a brand with a prior positive image, it is utmost expected they will undergo to purchase (84). In the context of food marketing, ample research has been carried out that affirms the brand image drives the consumers’ inclination towards purchasing organic food (85) genetically modified food (86,87), and bio-fortified food (81,88). The literature suggested that a favorable brand image helps food products to gain a competitive advantage and on purchase intention (54,79). Similarly, another recent study on food marketing noted that brand image is established to contribute a positive influence on consumer food purchase intention (80). Several studies on healthy food consumers’ behavior suggest that consumers are motivated to purchase once they identify the brand’s image based on its established traits and characteristics (85,87). Hence, greater brand image identification will positively influence the consumers’ intention to purchase healthy food and it is hypothesized that:
Hypothesis 6: Brand image identification has a positive significant effect on the Healthy foods’ purchase intention