Food consumption has been identified as an area of key importance if the world wants to progress towards more sustainable consumption (CarlssonKanyama and González 2009; Stehfest et al. 2009). In Western societies, such as The Netherlands, this implies a transition towards less animal-derived proteins (Aiking 2011; Reijnders and Soret 2003) and, in general, more carefully produced food. This transition will not be easy, however, because the relationships between food producers and consumers are bounded by many economic, cultural, and geographic constraints, and all food seems to be embedded

in a contested discourse of knowledge claims (Goodman and DuPuis 2002). Moreover, to consumers, changes towards more sustainable food patterns seem only worthwhile when the changes not only enable their pursuit of lifestyles with a lighter environmental burden but are also perceived as rewarding (de Vries and Petersen 2009). Organic food has the potential to meet these demands because it is more sustainable (Badgley et al. 2007; Thøgersen 2010) and because it has become increasingly popular with consumers all over the world (IFOAM 2011). In order to fully utilize this potential, it may be necessary to better understand the cultural context of the choice for organic food, because the cultural changes that will be needed to shift towards a more sustainable society and associated food choices are profound (Aiking 2011). In the past, several marketing studies have been done to identify consumer segments where market share can be increased (Aertsens et al. 2009; Hughner et al. 2007). Within this line of research, however, it tends to be forgotten that the emergence of organic food is associated with reflexive consumption (Goodman and DuPuis 2002) and cultural changes in Western societies (Campbell 2007). Also, and of particular interest, organic consumers seem to refuse a passive role in the food system. Taking an active role may enable them to resolve the alleged contradiction between environmentally responsible behavior and a satisfying life (Brown and Kasser 2005), for example, by understanding themselves as part of a natural order (Taylor 1989). Hence, in the present paper we have chosen to put the cultural dimension of organic consumption central, because it may help to explain more in-depth what makes alternative food choices so valuable to these consumers. As Crompton (2011) argues, particular cultural values motivate people to express concern about a range of environmental and social problems, and such values are associated with action to tackle these problems. Our ultimate objective is therefore to derive insights that can facilitate the much needed transition towards more sustainable consumption patterns (Crompton 2011; Jackson 2005).