Consumer Willingness to Pay for Environmental Production Attributes in Tomatoes: A Southeastern Consumer Survey
Direct-to-consumer sales accounted for roughly 18.27 percent of the total food sales in the United States (Low and Vogel 2011), and farmers’ markets increased by about 150.67 percent between 2002 and 2012 (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, 2012). Local food consumption is often motivated by the buyer’s perceptions of environmental and local economic benefits (Brown, 2003). Because there is no exact definition for “local,” direct-to-consumer sales are one of the ways to identify local for research purposes. The Hartman Group (2008) and Zepeda and Leviten-Reid (2004) revealed that consumers viewed buying local had direct environmental benefits. Michaud et al (2013) found that consumers are willing to pay a premium for two environmental attributes, an eco-friendly cultivation condition label and a carbon footprint measure, associated with a non-food agricultural product, cut roses. While previous research has shown that consumers are willing to pay for specific environmental attributes of non-food products and that consumers do take environmental attributes into account for food products, are consumers willing to pay for specific environmental attributes of fresh food products?