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Consumer Perceptions of Sustainable Farming Practices: A Best-Worst Scenario

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  • Sackett, Hillary M.
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    Abstract

    The ability of a firm to differentiate their product hinges critically on an accurate understanding of the perceptions consumers hold regarding the implications of a credence labeling claim. Building upon existing work evaluating other food attribute labels (e.g., genetically-modified products, region of origin, use of growth hormones) and the impact of consumer inferences (e.g., implicit associations made from explicitly provided information), this work begins to address gaps in the literature regarding food products with sustainably produced claims. This paper uses data collected in the summer and fall of 2010 from a national, web-based survey of 1002 households, to initiate the process of examining consumer inferences and valuations of food products making sustainably produced claims. A Best-Worst scaling framework was implemented to identify what consumers believe sustainably produced labels mean and their preferences for each of the sustainable farming practices considered. The best-worst survey method forces respondents to make trade-offs by simultaneously choosing the most and least preferred attributes. The measured level of concern can then be applied to a standardized ratio scale. The results of this study suggest that consumers perceive farm size and local production as highly important elements of sustainable agriculture. Additionally, consumer preferences over economic attributes such as consumer food prices and financial stability of farmers exhibit high heterogeneity, indicating segmentation in the sample and potential for targeted marketing management.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics in its series Graduate Research Masters Degree Plan B Papers with number 115966.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:midagr:115966

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    Keywords: Sustainably Produced Food; Best-Worst; Consumer Perceptions; Agricultural and Food Policy; Consumer/Household Economics; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Q01; Q13; Q11;

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    1. Flynn, Terry N. & Louviere, Jordan J. & Peters, Tim J. & Coast, Joanna, 2007. "Best-worst scaling: What it can do for health care research and how to do it," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 171-189, January.
    2. Tonsor, Glynn T. & Shupp, Robert S., 2009. "Valuations of ‘Sustainably Produced’ Labels on Beef, Tomato, and Apple Products," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 38(3), December.
    3. Pat Auger & Timothy Devinney & Jordan Louviere, 2007. "Using Best–Worst Scaling Methodology to Investigate Consumer Ethical Beliefs Across Countries," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 70(3), pages 299-326, February.
    4. Jayson L. Lusk & Brian C. Briggeman, 2009. "Food Values," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(1), pages 184-196.
    5. Yuko Onozaka & Gretchen Nurse & Dawn Thilmany McFadden, 2010. "Defining Sustainable Food Market Segments: Do Motivations and Values Vary by Shopping Locale?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(2), pages 583-589.
    6. Craig A. Bond & Dawn Thilmany & Jennifer Keeling Bond, 2008. "Understanding consumer interest in product and process-based attributes for fresh produce," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 231-252.
    7. Jayson L. Lusk & F. Bailey Norwood, 2005. "Effect of Experimental Design on Choice-Based Conjoint Valuation Estimates," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(3), pages 771-785.
    8. Louviere, Jordan J, 2001. " What If Consumer Experiments Impact Variances as Well as Means? Response Variability as a Behavioral Phenomenon," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 506-11, December.
    9. Wendy J. Umberger & Dillon M. Feuz & Chris R. Calkins & Karen Killinger-Mann, 2002. "U.S. consumer preference and willingness-to-pay for domestic corn-fed beef versus international grass-fed beef measured through an experimental auction," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(4), pages 491-504.
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