Campden BRI logo
Ethical From January 2010 newsletter

Consumers and ethical purchasing

Findings of a study to assess the way in which consumers trade-off on-pack information will help industry to better understand the impact of ethical and environmental concerns on pre-purchase decision making. The study was part of the many services and research we undertake in consumer research.

Using eggs, milk and tea as example products in a choice-based conjoint study, consumers weighed up ethical and environmental issues, such as free-range, fair-trade, organic and recyclable packaging, against other product characteristics such as health, flavour, and price. Respondents to the online survey were asked which of four alternative combinations they were likely to purchase, in ten different choice tasks.

The 253 people who participated were allocated into one of four shopper groups, based on their attitudes towards ethical and environmental issues: Deep shoppers, Intermediate shoppers, Shallow shoppers and Environmentally Focused shoppers. Deep shoppers showed a high preference for purchasing free range eggs and fair-trade tea, despite these products being placed in a higher price category. The other groups were less likely to purchase these two products.

Across all groups, organic milk was the least preferred milk product. Recyclable information on packaging was not a consideration for all respondents. Although packaging was considered to be the most important issue on food and drink products in prior focus group studies, it did not appear to influence pre-purchasing decision-making.

Contact: Michelle Chen
+44(0)1386 842238