Consumer Demand for Local Honey: An Artefactual Field Experiment

Wu, Shang
Fooks, Jacob
Messer, Kent D.
Delaney, Deborah
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Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, University of Delaware, Newark, DE.
How to best target and attract niche market consumers is an important marketing problem for producers of specialty agricultural products. It is particularly an issue in the honey market where consumers increasingly face media messages regarding threats to honey bee health, honey adulteration, and health benefits of locally produced honey. Using auction experiments, this research evaluates consumer behavior related to informational messages about honey that is produced locally, domestically, and internationally. Results from 115 adult consumers show that consumers’ demand for honey varies significantly based on the geographic location of the honey’s production, product packaging, and the information they have about the product. Consumers demonstrate greater demand for locally produced honey, especially when provided information about negative aspects of internationally produced honey that include adulteration. This shows that such negative media attention on specialty products offers small producers an opportunity to increase profitability by marketing themselves as a specialized niche alternative.
Local foods , Food safety , Experimental economics , Consumer behavior