Australian consumers will pay more for ‘eco-friendly’ vegetables, study

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 4th December 2013

Consumers have shown a strong willingness to pay more for eco-labelled vegetables, while also indicating that supermarkets should favour ‘environmentally-responsible’ suppliers, according to new research from vegetable industry representative body AUSVEG.

The findings, which are the result of a series of consumer focus groups and an online survey of more than 1,000 grocery buyers, were conducted by Applied Horticultural Research (AHR) in conjunction with AUSVEG. The research is published in vegetable industry magazine Vegetables Australia.

“More than 40 per cent of participants indicated they were willing to pay more for certified sustainable products, while more than half said supermarkets should favour environmentally-responsible suppliers, even if it meant prices would increase,” said Hugh Gurney, AUSVEG Spokesperson.

“The study demonstrated that people most interested in eco-labels tend to like vegetables and consume more of them,” Mr Gurney said. “They also usually buy free-range eggs, have some interest or experience with growing their own vegetables or herbs, and often have above average household income,” he said.

AUSVEG said the study also found that consumers already had strong views about purchasing products like ‘free-range’ eggs and non-generic brands of milk, but were less familiar with the wider issues around the production of vegetables. Despite the findings, stated consumer intentions are not necessarily in line with sales figures, according to AUSVEG.

AUSVEG and Coles to develop ‘eco-label’

With strong in-principle support for ‘environmentally-sustainable’ products in mind, AUSVEG said it is developing its own “clear, concise and credible” eco-labelling scheme, in conjunction with supermarket group Coles, as part of the EnviroVeg Platinum program.

“Consumers are telling us they want to buy environmentally sustainable products and are willing to pay more to do so,” Mr Gurney said. “Once operational, the Enviro Veg Platinum labelling scheme will provide shoppers with reliable information and the peace of mind they need to make informed purchasing decisions,” he said.

Consumers willing to pay more for 'eco-labelled' vegetables, study finds