Organics unpacked: The influence of packaging on the choice for organic fruits and vegetables

Erica van Herpen*, Victor Immink, Jos van den Puttelaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In many supermarkets throughout Europe, it has become common practice in the fruit and vegetable department to offer options in plastic packaging. Recent trends, however, move towards the removal of packaging. The current study examines whether offering fruit and vegetables without primary packaging increases the likelihood that consumers choose these products. This is especially relevant for organic fruit and vegetables, given that plastic may be perceived as contrary to the sustainable nature of these products. A first experiment, using a student sample and an immersive 3D virtual supermarket environment, shows that choice for organic fruit and vegetables indeed increases when organics are offered without packaging. A second experiment with the virtual supermarket generalizes these findings to a sample of supermarket patrons, additionally showing that unpacked fruit and vegetables are preferred over packed options overall, both for organic and non-organic products. We conclude that removing the primary packaging of organic fruit and vegetables appears to be a promising intervention in attempts to increase organic sales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-96
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Choice
  • Fruit
  • Organics
  • Packaging
  • Produce
  • Unpacked
  • Vegetables


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