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Consumer Attitudes towards Sustainability Attributes on Food Labels


  • Tait, Peter R.
  • Miller, Sini
  • Abell, Walter L.
  • Kaye-Blake, William
  • Guenther, Meike
  • Saunders, Caroline M.


Concerns about climate change and the general status of the environment have increased expectation that food products have sustainability credentials, and that these can be verified. There are significant and increasing pressures in key export markets for information on Greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of products throughout its life-cycle. How this information is conveyed to consumers is a key issue. Labelling is a common method of communicating certain product attributes to consumers that may influence their choices. In a choice experiment concerning fruit purchase decisions, this study estimates willingness to pay for sustainability attributes by consumers in Japan and the UK. The role of label presentation format is investigated: text only, text and graphical, and graphical only. Results indicate that sustainability attributes influence consumers’ fruit purchase decisions. Reduction of carbon in fruit production is shown to be the least valued out of sustainability attributes considered. Differences are evident between presentation formats and between countries, with increased nutrient content being the most sensitive to format and country while carbon reduction is the most insensitive and almost always valued the least.

Suggested Citation

  • Tait, Peter R. & Miller, Sini & Abell, Walter L. & Kaye-Blake, William & Guenther, Meike & Saunders, Caroline M., 2011. "Consumer Attitudes towards Sustainability Attributes on Food Labels," 2011 Conference (55th), February 8-11, 2011, Melbourne, Australia 100716, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aare11:100716

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William Henry Kaye-Blake & Walt L. Abell & Eva Zellman, 2009. "Respondents' ignoring of attribute information in a choice modelling survey," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 53(4), pages 547-564, October.
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    6. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521766555, March.
    7. McCluskey, Jill J. & Loureiro, Maria L., 2003. "Consumer Preferences And Willingness To Pay For Food Labeling: A Discussion Of Empirical Studies," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 34(03), November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Banterle, Alessandro & Cavaliere, Alessia & Ricci, Elena Claire, 2012. "Food labelled Information: An Empirical Analysis of Consumer Preferences," 2012 International European Forum, February 13-17, 2012, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria 144960, International European Forum on Innovation and System Dynamics in Food Networks.
    2. Villas-Boas, Sofia B & Taylor, Rebecca & Krovetz, Hannah, 2016. "Willingness to Pay for Low Water Footprint Food Choices During Drought," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt9vh3x180, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    3. Sackett, Hillary & Shupp, Robert & Tonsor, Glynn, 3. "Differentiating €Œsustainable†From €Œorganic†And €Œlocal†Food Choices: Does Information About Certification Criteria Help Consumers?," International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics (IJFAEC), Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University, Department of Economics and Finance, vol. 4(3).
    4. Sackett, Hillary M. & Shupp, Robert & Tonsor, Glynn, 2013. "Consumer Perceptions of Sustainable Farming Practices: A Best-Worst Scenario," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 42(2), August.
    5. repec:nbr:nberch:13949 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mamouni Limnios, Elena & Schilizzi, Steven G.M. & Burton, Michael & Ong, Angeline & Hynes, Niki, 2016. "Willingness to pay for product ecological footprint: Organic vs non-organic consumers," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 338-348.
    7. Iancu Ramona Maria, 2014. "Consumers’ Perception and Behavior Towards Ecosanogene Products Made by Goat Milk," Management of Sustainable Development, De Gruyter Open, vol. 6(2), pages 87-92, December.
    8. Xiaogu Li & Christopher Clark & Kimberly Jensen & Steven Yen, 2014. "Will consumers follow climate leaders? The effect of manufacturer participation in a voluntary environmental program on consumer preferences," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 16(1), pages 69-87, January.
    9. Sporleder, Eva M. & Kayser, Maike & Friedrich, Nina & Theuvsen, Ludwig, 2014. "Consumer Preferences for Sustainably Produced Bananas: A Discrete Choice Experiment," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), vol. 17(1).
    10. Li, Xiaogu & Jensen, Kimberly L. & Clark, Christopher D. & Lambert, Dayton M., 2016. "Consumer willingness to pay for beef grown using climate friendly production practices," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 93-106.
    11. Banterle, Alessandro & Cavaliere, Alessia & Ricci, Elena Claire, 2012. "Food Labelled Information: An Empirical Analysis," International Journal on Food System Dynamics, International Center for Management, Communication, and Research, vol. 3(2).

    More about this item


    Willingness to pay; Choice experiment; Food labelling; Sustainability; Cross-country comparison; Agricultural and Food Policy; Consumer/Household Economics; Environmental Economics and Policy; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Q18; Q51; Q56;

    JEL classification:

    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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