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Add To Calendar 21/02/2017 15:15:0021/02/2017 15:35:00America/ChicagoAquaculture America 2017ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF ECOLABELS ON CONSUMER PREFERENCES FOR SEAFOOD: THE ROLE OF PRODUCTION METHOD, CERTIFICATION AND ORIGIN ON WILD HARVEST AND AQUACULTURE PRODUCTS Room 12The World Aquaculture Societyjohnc@was.orgfalseanrl65yqlzh3g1q0dme13067DD/MM/YYYY

ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF ECOLABELS ON CONSUMER PREFERENCES FOR SEAFOOD: THE ROLE OF PRODUCTION METHOD, CERTIFICATION AND ORIGIN ON WILD HARVEST AND AQUACULTURE PRODUCTS

Christian Brayden*, Caroline L. Noblet, Margaret Snell, and Maryam Kashkooli
 
 University of Maine, School of Economics
 5782 Winslow Hall, Rm. 206
 Orono, ME 04469
 william.brayden@maine.edu

The production of seaweed and bivalve shellfish represents a substantial and growing sector of the U.S. and global seafood industry (NOAA, 2016; Watson, 2016). While the increase in production of bivalve shellfish and seaweed has been matched by heightened seafood demand, consumers often experience confusion over the characteristics of products during the purchasing process. At the same time, producers and retailers struggle to determine optimal methods of production and marketing to maximize profits. Seafood labels play an important role in the communication of product characteristics from the producer to the consumer and vice versa.

This paper explores the impact of ecolabels on consumer preferences for seafood products. We examine three key attributes that may impact consumer choice: (1) preferences for production method: wild harvest or aquaculture products; (2) preferences for  organic (aquaculture) or sustainably harvested (wild harvest) products;  and (3)  whether a product is labeled as imported, from the U.S., or from a consumer's home state. We use data from a 2016 online consumer experiment (n=2000) and perform a conjoint analysis to improve our understanding of the role these three attributes may play in decision making. This work fills a key knowledge gap by examining consumer preferences for coastal shellfish (oysters, mussels, scallops and clams) and seaweed products across the nation.

Preliminary findings indicate that consumers prefer products from their home state regardless of production method or certification.                    

References

NOAA. "Shellfish Aquaculture - Frequently Asked Questions." NOAA Fisheries. Accessed August 23, 2016. http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/shellfish_portal/shellfish_faqs.html.

Watson, Lucy. "Profiting from Seaweed Farming." Farmed Irish Seaweed: An Ocean Wonder Food? Accessed August 23, 2016. http://www.bim.ie/media/bim/content/downloads/Lucy Watson.pdf.

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