How much more are people willing to pay for seafood labeled as sustainable?

Seafood consumers are increasingly interested in buying seafood that has a sustainable ecolabel certification by companies such as the Marine Stewardship Council. A new study identifies a key reason why it is so difficult for retailers to get a price premium for ecolabeled seafood: people differ widely in their willingness to pay more for ecolabels. In particular, those who might be happy to pay a lot more for sustainably labeled seafood, may not be willing to pay a lot for seafood relative to other protein such as chicken, pork, or beef. This presents a serious challenge to retailers who have to set a single price for each product, and thus can’t easily capture the extra value from consumers willing to pay a lot more for certified seafood. The new research was based on an auction experiment in Japan, was coauthored by SAFS professor Chris Anderson, and appears in Marine Resource Economics.

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