Are Consumers Really Willing to Pay More for Local Foods? A Field Experiment
Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, University of Delaware, Newark, DE.
Have local food promotion programs convinced consumers to pay more for local food? Studies to date, which have mostly relied on hypothetical stated preference surveys, have shown that local premiums exist but premiums vary by product and geographic identity. This study reports results from a field experiment involving 1,050 adult consumers to reveal consumers’ willingness to pay premiums for “locally produced” oysters and mushrooms. Despite strong statistical power, this study reveals no positive effect of the local label on consumer willingness to pay. These null results have important implications for state and federal agencies that promote often-generic local labeling campaigns.