Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Sayed Saghaian


This dissertation examines organic food marketing from three aspects: household demand for organic food, household choice of retail formats accounting for preference organic food preference, and farmers’ joint adoption of organic farming and direct marketing methods. In Chapter Two, given the fast growth of private label milk and organic milk in the U.S., we estimate a censored demand system to study the demand relations among types of milk differentiated by brand types and organic status, using recent Nielsen Homescan data. We find that sociodemographic factors still play important roles in a household choice of milk types, and fluid milk is an inferior good. Moreover, as income increases, households are more likely to shift from buying conventional milk to organic milk and from private label conventional milk to branded conventional milk, as indicated by the asymmetric cross price elasticities.

In Chapter Three, we examine whether households’ preference for organic food can affect their retail format choices for their grocery shopping trips. We model households’ choices of five major retail format with a conditional logit model, also using the Nielsen Homescan data. Our main findings are that regular organic user households are more likely to patronage organic specialty stores and discount stores, but less likely to shop in warehouse clubs. Price, consumer loyalty, and household shopping behavior also affects household retail format choice.

In Chapter Four, we examine the relation between farmers’ adoption of organic farming and direct marketing, given their similar objectives in satisfying consumer demand and increasing farm income. We model farmers’ adoption of the two practices with a bivariate simultaneous linear probability model using data from USDA Agricultural Resource Management Survey. Our main finding is that the farmers’ adoption of organic farming decreases their probability of adopting direct marketing, whereas the reverse effect is insignificant. Also, organic farming is found to improve gross farm income.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)