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Defining U.S. consumers’ (mis)perceptions of pollinator friendly labels: an exploratory study

In: International Food and Agribusiness Management Review
Authors:
Hayk Khachatryan Assistant Professor, Food and Resource Economics Department, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 2725 S. Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703, USA.

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Alicia Rihn Research Associate, Food and Resource Economics Department, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 2725 S. Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703, USA.

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Declining pollinator insect populations is an important global concern due to potential negative environmental and economic consequences. However, research on consumer perceptions of pollinator friendly traits is limited. Understanding consumer perceptions is important because they impact behavior and product selection. In turn, this affects the effectiveness of relevant policies and pollinator insects’ access to beneficial plants. This manuscript quantifies consumers’ perceptions of plant traits that aid pollinators. U.S. consumers (n=1,243) were surveyed to identify their perceptions of pollinator friendly traits. Binary logit models and marginal effects were estimated using 22 plant traits and consumers’ purchasing interest, existing knowledge, and demographic variables. Results imply consumers interested in purchasing pollinator friendly plants selected positive traits regardless of accuracy. Furthermore, consumers selected traits that aligned with their knowledge. Older participants had more accurate perceptions of pollinator friendly traits. Results highlight the challenges facing regulatory efforts geared towards promoting pollinator friendly products/practices.

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