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- Author or Editor: Benjamin L. Campbell x
A survey of Connecticut consumers was used to investigate perceptions of various green industry retailers. Consumer perceptions of independent garden centers (IGC), home improvement centers (HIC), and mass merchandisers (MM) business practices and their perceived value were assessed. Analysis of variance and ordinary least squares regression models were used to analyze the data. Results indicated that customer service, knowledgeable staff, and high-quality plants are important factors when consumers are deciding where to shop. IGCs were ranked highest in perceived customer service, knowledgeable staff, and plant quality, followed by HICs. MMs were ranked lowest for the majority of measured business practices, with the most notable exception being price. Additionally, IGCs, HICs, and MMs are perceived differently across age cohorts.
Over the last decade, there has been a move by many consumers to purchase locally grown products. Many studies have focused on food with limited studies examining plants. Using an online survey of Connecticut residents in conjunction with a choice experiment, we examine the impact of various attributes (e.g., local labeling, retail outlet, color, bloom, and price) on preference and willingness to pay (WTP) for azaleas. Results of the latent class model (LCM) indicate that only one of the latent classes, ≈43% of the sample, valued local labeling. Furthermore, the same class that valued local also preferred a nursery/greenhouse outlet over a home improvement center/mass merchandiser. Recommendations for the different retail outlets are given based on the results.
Data from the 2004 National Nursery Survey conducted by the USDA-CSREES S-1021 Multistate Research Committee (referred to as the Green Industry Research Consortium) were used to evaluate the effect of pricing influences and selling characteristics on total gross firm sales and gross sales of several plant categories (trees, roses, shrubs/azaleas, herbaceous perennials, bedding plants, foliage, and potted flowering plants) for commercial nurseries and greenhouses. As expected, the firm's selling characteristics play a large role in whether a firm sells a specific plant category. Demand factors also play a role in affecting plant category sales with income, population, and race tending to be the only significant variables, except for the potted flowering plants category. In regard to sales, our results show that certain factors affecting pricing decisions play a critical role in both plant category sales and total sales. Furthermore, demand and business characteristics play a limited role as well, but not as big a role as selling characteristics. Of note is that firms with an increased percentage of sales through wholesale channels (of most plant categories and overall) result in increased sales. By understanding the nursery and greenhouse industry environment and how decisions affect overall and categorical sales, firms can implement strategies that capitalize on factors that have the potential to generate increased sales.
The number of pollinators has been reported to be decreasing for the past several decades. Numerous sources (e.g., climate change, pesticides, loss of habitat) have been noted as potential contributing factors to the decline. With respect to the green industry, the impact of pesticides on pollinator decline and consumer response to this impact is of critical importance. Although no definitive link exists of pesticides being a major contributing factor to pollinator decline, some retailers have banned their suppliers from using certain pesticides. As various sources (e.g., universities, media, activist groups) provide information (both positive, neutral, and negative) about the impact of pesticides on pollinators, no information exists regarding how consumers value such information. Using a sample of Connecticut consumers, this study evaluates how both information source and information type impact a consumer’s decision to purchase pollinator-friendly plants in the future. The study finds that consumers exposed to either neutral (no link between pesticides and pollinator decline) or negative (link between pesticides and pollinator decline) information from universities and major media outlets indicate they will purchase more pollinator-friendly plants compared with the no information (control) treatment. The results show that information from the federal government, nursery/greenhouse industry associations, and environmental activist groups have the same impact on self-reported future pollinator-friendly plant purchasing as the no information group.
Pesticide laws focused on school grounds/athletic fields are beginning to take shape around the United States. A body of literature has examined the health implications of pesticides on school children and faculty and staff. However, little research has examined the impact of changing pesticide regulations on grounds/field quality and expenses. Our research indicate that school grounds/field managers have perceived decreased quality after the Connecticut kindergarten to eighth grade pesticide ban went into effect in 2010. Furthermore, we find that educational sessions or increased expenditures on school grounds/fields can increase the probability of maintaining field quality at integrated pest management levels. However, we see that lower income areas are more likely to experience decreased grounds/field quality after the lawn care pesticide ban took effect.
Since microgreens entered the market in the 1980s and 1990s, their use has expanded far beyond high-end restaurants. Most microgreens are grown in greenhouses with supplemental lighting (i.e., artificial lighting in addition to sunlight). Supplemental lighting usually includes high-pressure sodium (HPS) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). HPS is the most common type of supplemental lighting, while LEDs are becoming more common. This article examines consumer preference and willingness to pay (WTP) for microgreens grown with LED lighting compared with HPS lighting and sunlight in the presence of different amounts and types of information. We find that negative information harms WTP, and positive information has little to no impact on WTP. We also examine how other attributes (i.e., price, location produced, production type, location purchased) impact WTP.
Using conjoint analysis and market simulations, the impact of the introduction of certified genetically modified organism (GMO)-free; GMO-free, not certified; and nonlabeled turfgrass was examined for Connecticut consumers. We categorized consumers into five distinct segments according to their preferences. The largest segment consisted of 38% of respondents (multifaceted), whereas the smallest consisted of 8% of respondents (extremely price sensitive). For most consumers GMO labeling was not a major driver for purchasing decisions, accounting for only 11% of purchasing decisions. However, holding all factors constant except GMO labeling and price, 66% of the market preferred a noncertified GMO-free label, with a significant number of consumers willing to pay for the certified GMO-free label. Based on market simulations, the noncertified GMO-free-labeled seed would maximize revenue at a 60% premium whereas the certified GMO-free label maximizes revenue when there is no premium.
The ornamental horticulture industry relies on workers to do myriad tasks, such as pruning, applying fertilizers, scouting, spraying pesticides, planting, harvesting, packing, and weeding. As a result of the perishable nature of horticultural goods, a skilled and accessible labor supply is imperative for continued industry growth and stability. The decreasing number of workers, followed by increasing wage rates, could be alarming for the economic well-being of the ornamental horticulture industry, which has already experienced a downward trend in revenue and profits. Combining 2014 and 2019 National Green Industry Survey data, this study investigates factors affecting ornamental growers’ decisions on hiring H-2A workers. Growers’ decisions are largely affected by their home state’s enforcement of the 287(g) program and the observed industry employment and total wage payment. Growers are more likely to participate in an H-2A workers program if their home state implemented the restrictive 287(g) program. Increasing industry employment of domestic workers will discourage participation in the H-2A workers program, but increasing industry wage costs will encourage participation. In contrast, individual firm characteristics play different roles in program participation and the number of H-2A workers hiring decision. Increasing farm sales value by $1 million merely increases the probability of hiring by a 0.1% point, revealing that large growers are the major beneficiaries of the H-2A workers program. After the participation hurdle is overcome, the number of H-2A workers hired is affected minimally by these factors. Our results suggest that the current H-2A program imposes a potential hurdle to participate, thus benefiting large growers.
The COVID-19 pandemic altered the way many consumers and businesses transacted business. Concerning the green industry, many households began gardening and/or purchased more green industry products. As the pandemic ends and households begin to return to normal, green industry firms need to understand this new normal. Using an online national survey of households, we assessed which households were more likely to remain in the market after entering during the height of the pandemic (2020). Findings indicated that younger consumers (i.e., Millennials and younger individuals who were born in 1985 or after) were less likely to indicate they always garden (before the pandemic) but more likely to have started gardening during the pandemic and perceived that they would not continue to garden as states returned to normal (2021). This age group was also more likely to not have gardened in 2020, but they intended to garden in 2021. This finding shows a dichotomy in gardening preferences in this young age group. Further findings indicated that race, household income, number of children in the household, and the impact of the pandemic on the household also help explain the household’s decision to garden or not.
In recent years, the new trend for local and organic produce has transformed the landscape of fruit and vegetable purchasing. To this effect, “local” and “organic” logos have become the norm in many retail outlets. To examine the effects of different “local” and “organic” logos on Canadian consumers, a consumer survey was used to identify preferences for various external attributes and to identify consumer segments within the buyers of both local and organic purchasers. Our results indicate that the “Foodland Ontario” logo has the largest effect on likelihood of purchase and also increases willingness to pay within the overall sample. Furthermore, there are gender, region, and income differences associated with the likelihood of purchase and willingness to pay given various logos. Through this study, three consumer segments were identified, “Confident in Produce Produced in Ontario,” “In Organic We Trust,” and “Socially Responsible Locavores,” each of which has their own preferences for external characteristics.