Are Consumers Indeed Misled? Congruency in Consumers' Attitudes towards Wine Labeling Information versus Revealed Preferences from a Choice Experiment

Agricultural economists are increasingly being asked by policy makers and food industry to evaluate the efficacy of labeling programs or to assess if consumers are mislead by existing labeling programs. International food agencies, however, often rely only on stated preference methods in the form of attitude and perception measurement to directly assess consumers’ understanding and evaluation of label information and its importance to their purchase decisions. Attitudinal measures are often criticized for potentially providing biased estimates of true preferences, as they tend to overstate the importance of product characteristics when evaluated separately. Choice experiments, on the other hand, provide a methodological tool for a holistic product evaluation and force respondents to trade-off several attributes against another. In this study, we assess how closely consumers’ attitudinal measures with respect to food product labeling alternatives (pre- and post-information) correlate with estimates of relative value and importance from a discrete choice experiment (DCE). Data from a recent study commissioned by the Australian wine industry is used to examine whether consumers are being mislead by current food labeling policy which allows a product, only partially derived from wine and of lower technical quality, to be labeled as “Wine Product”. In combination with origin labeling consumers are potentially being misled by the combined label “Wine Product of Australia”. Thus, the overall objective of this research is to compare the results of attitudinal versus choice based methods to examine the efficacy of each method when assessing the impact of labeling information and policy on consumer behavior.

Issue Date:
Jul 26 2010
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
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Series Statement:
Selected Paper 10294

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