Selecting decision-relevant ethical product attributes for grocery shopping

Hasanzade, Vuesal; Osburg, Victoria-Sophie; Toporowski, Waldemar

Hull University Business School
Ethical decision-making; Ethical consumption; Ethical product information; Segmentation; Price information; Country-of-origin information
2018

Journal article


Rights
©2018 The Authors.
Abstract

Purpose – Despite the existence of various approaches for promoting ethical consumption, it remains a challenge to determine which ethical product features are actually decision relevant for consumers. Based on the assumption that values influence behavior across a range of situations, this paper explores the utility of product information items that address underlying motivators (i.e., concerns about the environment, animal welfare, other humans, price). Information preferences are also determined for different consumer segments separately, enabling one to target consumer groups with specific decision-relevant information.

Design/methodology – A German online survey was conducted with mainly young consumers. The survey used a choice-based conjoint analysis (CBCA) with the relevant product information items chosen based on an analysis of the attributes of dairy products and the guidelines for eco- and fair trade labels. The identified items were assigned to the ethical criteria of animal welfare, environmental protection, and labor and human rights. These criteria, along with price and country of origin, represent the attributes of the CBCA.

Findings – Results indicate that information about animal welfare increases consumer choice the most, followed by information about labor and human rights, and environmental protection. Three identified segments differ with respect to their decision-relevant product information: ethically motivated consumers (53.8%), price-oriented consumers (12%) and price-quality-oriented consumers (34.2%).

Value – This study contributes to a better understanding of how ethical product information can most effectively be communicated to consumers, particularly for dairy products. The results highlight the need to carefully select ethical product information based on the target consumer segment in order to promote ethical consumption.

Publisher
The University of Hull
Peer reviewed
Yes
Language
English
Extent
404 KB
Identifier
hull:15660

Journal

Journal title
Management decision
Publication date
2018
Publisher
Emerald
DOI
10.1108/MD-12-2016-0946
ISSN (Print)
0025-1747
Notes

This is the accepted version of an article published in Management Decision, 2018.

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