Measuring Willingness to Pay for Environmental Attributes in Seafood


Andrew Stevens, Eric Hallstein, James Hilger


customer values, eco-labels, food policy, seafood, stoplight labels, sustainable seafood


CUDARE Working Papers

Year Published:


Policy Summary

Susatinable seafood labels were studied to determine whether the use of stop-light (red, yellow, and green) labels resulted in increased willingness to pay for sustainable fish by consumers. Customers stated that they preferred seafood that was wild caught over farmed, of U.S. origin, and harvested using selective methods.Yellow labelled fish was found to be bought less, but not replaced with “green” or “red” fish options. Instead, customers were more likely to skip buying fish altogether, instead of paying more for a “green” fish option. The authors noted that the language that corresponded with the “yellow” rating was initially, “Proceed with Caution,” but then was changed to, “Good alternative.” After that syntax change people were more willing to buy yellow labelled seafood if it was price discounted by at least a 1/3 of the price of the green seafood options. Research indicates that consumers place a positive value on sustainability, but it is less clear if they are willing to pay for it and at what cost.

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