Title

An exploration of why consumers purchase eco-labeled products : a survey of coffee consumers in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts

Publication Date

1-1-2001

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Paul Ventura

Abstract

A survey questionnaire was administered to sixty respondents within the Pioneer Valley to ascertain why consumers choose to purchase eco-labeled coffees, what their understanding of the various eco-labeling certifications and claims are, and whether eco-labeling directly influences their purchasing choices. Several hypotheses were asserted in order to examine whether the purchasing probability of certified organic and fair trade coffees are affected by variables of college education, household income, gender, knowledge of organic certification, and/or informational resources (books, radio, television, pamphlets, etc.). The resulting survey data was used to address four objectives of the study. Specifically, the study sought to identify the following: issues pertaining to the purchase of eco-labeled coffee, what consumers' understanding of organic and fair trade certification claims are, whether such claims directly influence their purchasing decisions, and where consumers obtain their information on certification claims. The study also makes recommendations on strategies key stakeholders (i.e. environmental NGOs, farmer associations, importers, roasters, retailers, certifiers, research, advocacy and funding groups, or trade associations) can use to be effective in reaching eco-labeled coffee consumers, in order to further raise consumer awareness of environmental, sustainability, and ethical trade issues.

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