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Are Consumers Color Blind?: an empirical investigation of a traffic light advisory for sustainable seafood

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  • Hallstein, Eric
  • Villas-Boas, Sofia Berto

Abstract

This paper empirically investigates consumer response to a traffic light advisory for environmentally sustainable seafood, which was implemented in the seafood department of a regional supermarket chain in the United States. Green meant 'best choice'; yellow meant 'proceed with caution'; red meant 'worst choice'. Using a unique product-level panel scanner data set capturing sales information for 2 treatment stores and 8 nearby control stores, we apply a difference-in-differences identification strategy to estimate the impact of color-coded labels on consumers' purchases. We find that the advisory leads to no significant difference in total seafood sales. Green sales significantly increase an average of 29% per week; yellow sales significantly decrease an average of 27% per week; red sales show no significant difference in sales. Green products on a mercury safe list had the greatest increase in sales whereas yellow products not on the mercury safe list had the largest drop in sales.

Suggested Citation

  • Hallstein, Eric & Villas-Boas, Sofia Berto, 2009. "Are Consumers Color Blind?: an empirical investigation of a traffic light advisory for sustainable seafood," CUDARE Working Papers 120535, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ucbecw:120535
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.120535
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    Cited by:

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    2. S. Marette & L. Nabec & F. Durieux, 2019. "Improving Nutritional Quality of Consumers’ Food Purchases With Traffic-Lights Labels: An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 377-395, September.
    3. Asche, Frank & Larsen, Thomas A. & Smith, Martin D. & Sogn-Grundvåg, Geir & Young, James A., 2015. "Pricing of eco-labels with retailer heterogeneity," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 82-93.
    4. Hirotsugu Uchida & Cathy A. Roheim & Robert J. Johnston, 2017. "Balancing the Health Risks and Benefits of Seafood: How Does Available Guidance Affect Consumer Choices?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1056-1077.

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