Ethical consumerism is one of this century’s retail success stories and has continued to grow despite the global pandemic and economic contraction. Consumers worldwide are increasingly putting their money where their values are in purchases of food and drink, clothing, housing, and financial and other services. Understanding these consumers is key to competing successfully in markets for ethically sourced products and presents opportunities for reducing poverty in developing countries where food and agricultural production is the dominant economic activity, such as small island developing states (SIDS) in the Pacific. While ethical consumerism is an expanding research field, findings rarely are analysed in detail for market development. Rarer still is segmentation in terms of product attributes aimed explicitly at poverty reduction in slow-growth, emerging economies like those of the Pacific. Here we report a latent class cluster analysis of survey responses by ethically conscious Australian consumers (n = 637) associated with Oxfam, the development charity. Four distinct consumer segments were identified with implications for Pacific producers. Product origin and ‘the story behind the product’ were particularly important to these consumers. The findings provide practical insights to agricultural stakeholders in the Pacific and those similarly situated around the globe that are in need of new economic opportunities.
Technology in food production is constantly evolving and advancing, and the emerging genetically modified (GM) technology is making a significant contribution to solving the world’s food problems. However, sporadic food safety incidents and negative media coverage have caused Chinese consumers to remain apprehensive about the safety of food and GM technology, even to the extent that they are reluctant to buy vegetables in unusual shapes because they believe the vegetables are produced by GM technology. This paper examines this negative association with GM food. The results show that when seeing an abnormally shaped vegetable, consumers perceive that the vegetable is likely to be genetically modified, thus increasing their perceived risk. In order to estimate the mediation effect, we adopted the causal step approach using an ordered probit model. To investigate consumers’ preferences for attributes of vegetables, we employed a choice experiment, stochastic parametric logit models and latent class logit models. Apart from price, consumers place the highest importance on appearance attributes, followed by traceability attributes, and then safety certification attributes. There is also heterogeneity in consumer preferences. Consumers’ characteristics such as age, marital status and family size influence their preferences. The findings of this paper suggest that traceability labelling and safety certification labelling can be useful in addressing information asymmetry in food safety and can increase consumer utility and improve their trust in the safety of the food they buy.