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Speaker: Sharon Selvaggio
This FREE mini-session is included with your trade show pass! The need for alternatives to synthetic pesticides in nursery production is increasingly discussed—and increasingly adopted—by nursery producers. Producers are operating in a market where consumer concerns increasingly extend beyond the aesthetic to encompass interest in the local ecosystem benefits, especially for pollinators. Retailers and wholesalers are using various mechanisms to tap into this sentiment, including labeling plants as “pollinator-friendly” or “neonicotinoid-free” but no standard definition exists for these terms, potentially creating consumer confusion. Little is known about consumer acceptance of other label options, including labels that contain information about the use of biocontrols in production. Does such information create an advantage or disadvantage in pricing? If so, does this disparity exist across the board or just with certain market segments? We will present results from our pilot 2018 study testing consumer preference to buy plants labeled in four different ways. Our study will compare the willingness of consumers in and near the Portland metro area to pay the same, more, or less for a plant with different “eco-labels”, compared to a conventionally labeled plant. The project will also test the degree of price that consumers are willing to pay for the experimentally labeled plants compared to the control. Oregon producers and retailers will benefit from the results of this study by gaining insight into local consumer preferences for production methodologies and willingness to pay based on labeling. The results will test sales prices at the retail level. Wholesalers will gain information that can assist them in negotiating fair pricing with retailers.