People purchasing plants at an outdoor plant sale.When it comes to plant labels about neonicotinoid use, does the design or content of a plant label affect a consumer’s willingness to purchase the plant?

In our survey, consumers were presented with a range of labeled annual and perennial plants, such as impatiens, marigolds, and chrysanthemums. Each plant was marked with one of four different plant labels about neonicotinoids, and consumers were then asked how much they were willing to pay for each labeled plant.

The four plant labels differed in whether they indicated the presence or absence of neonicotinoids, and whether the information was displayed graphically or through text.

Two labels described the absence of neonicotinoids on the plant:
Label 1 – text saying “Neonic-Free”
Label 2 – a picture of the Xerces Society logo, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of insects

Two labels described the presence of neonicotinoids on the plant:
Label 3 – text saying “Treated by Neonic”
Label 4 – text saying “Protected from Problematic Pests”

Consumers who did not know about neonicotinoids didn’t differentiate between the different plant labels. After learning about neonicotinoids, however, consumers from our survey were willing to pay about $3.21 for plants that were labeled as neonic free—a $0.34 increase from non-neonic free plants.

Researcher: Dr. Hayk Khachatryan

State: FL, in addition to states from online survey