What is an Unregulated and Potentially Misleading Label Worth? The case of “Natural”-Labelled Groceries

What is an Unregulated and Potentially Misleading Label Worth? The case of “Natural”-Labelled... Motivated by a multitude of lawsuits and considerable public policy debate in the U.S., this study provides insight on the demand effects for an unregulated and potentially misleading phrase found on many grocery labels: “all natural”, and its common variations. Using a targeted sample of adult grocery shoppers, we employ an incentive-compatible approach to elicit the willingness to pay for a variety of “natural”-labelled food products, along with their counterfactual, standard-labelled counterparts. We find that consumers are willing to pay 20% more on average for “natural” products. Using elicited information on consumer beliefs, we find that this premium decreases when “natural” signals no artificial flavors or preservatives, and increases when consumers believe that “natural” means GMO-free. Interestingly, for those indicating that the “natural” designation is meaningless, they are willing to pay about one-third less for products labelled this way. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Environmental and Resource Economics Springer Journals

What is an Unregulated and Potentially Misleading Label Worth? The case of “Natural”-Labelled Groceries

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Economics; Environmental Economics; Environmental Law/Policy/Ecojustice; Political Economy/Economic Policy; Economics, general; Environmental Management
ISSN
0924-6460
eISSN
1573-1502
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10640-017-0132-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Motivated by a multitude of lawsuits and considerable public policy debate in the U.S., this study provides insight on the demand effects for an unregulated and potentially misleading phrase found on many grocery labels: “all natural”, and its common variations. Using a targeted sample of adult grocery shoppers, we employ an incentive-compatible approach to elicit the willingness to pay for a variety of “natural”-labelled food products, along with their counterfactual, standard-labelled counterparts. We find that consumers are willing to pay 20% more on average for “natural” products. Using elicited information on consumer beliefs, we find that this premium decreases when “natural” signals no artificial flavors or preservatives, and increases when consumers believe that “natural” means GMO-free. Interestingly, for those indicating that the “natural” designation is meaningless, they are willing to pay about one-third less for products labelled this way.

Journal

Environmental and Resource EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 24, 2017

References

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