Neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides have been facing intense scrutiny because of their potential role in pollinator insect population declines. Research has shown that insecticide use in general has resulted in $284 million per year in damages to honeybee and pollinator services in the United States. This is especially worrying because food supply would fail to meet increasing global food demand without pollinator insects.
Consumer awareness of neonic pesticides increases the purchase likelihood for plants that are labeled “neonic-free,” and, as consumer awareness of neonics increases, demand for plants may decrease if there is limited availability of neonic-free options. This 5-page fact sheet written by Hayk Khachatryan and Alicia Rihn and published by the Food and Resource Economics Department explains the practical implications for growers, retailers, and policy makers and describes how these stakeholders can benefit from increased awareness of this important new market niche.
Water pollution and drought in the United States have made water scarcity a widespread concern. Currently, residential consumers account for most urban water use, and meaningful programs that lead to water conservation rely on a comprehensive understanding of how consumers use water inside and outside their homes. This 5-page fact sheet written by Hayk Khachatryan, Alicia Rihn, and Michael Dukes and published by the Department of Food and Resource Economics outlines University of Florida researchers’ assessments of current US household indoor and outdoor water use to assist policy makers and researchers with creating incentives for homeowners to conserve water.
Population declines among bees, butterflies, and other pollinator insects are very worrying because 70% of the world’s food crop production depends upon these tiny insect workers. Fortunately, ninety million US households have yards, landscapes, or gardens that can enhance pollinator habitat and health. Consumers’ actions can drastically impact pollinator insects and even help them to recover. This 5-page fact sheet written by Hayk Khachatryan and Alicia Rihn and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, October 2016, describes a new UF/IFAS study of consumers’ actions and perceptions as they considered ornamental plants that benefit pollinators. It covers consumers’ current actions to aid pollinators, their interest in purchasing plants to help pollinators, and their perceptions about plant availability, and it describes strategies for merchants and producers to cater to consumer preferences for in-store communications/promotions and help them to find and purchase plants that aid pollinator insects.
Certain attributes of ornamental landscape plants make them more attractive to consumers. This 5-page fact sheet written by Hayk Khachatryan and Alicia Rihn and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, October 2016, assesses the impacts of price, plant type, pollinator friendliness, production methods, and origin attributes on consumers’ purchasing likelihood for ornamental landscape plants. Recommendations for green industry stakeholders are also provided.
Consumer demand for indoor foliage plants is decreasing. One strategy to counter decreasing demand is to align products with consumer needs. To explore this strategy, this 4-page fact sheet written by Hayk Khachatryan and Alicia Rihn and published by the Department of Food and Resource Economics examines purchasing barriers for indoor foliage plants so that breeders, growers, suppliers, and retailers may develop and promote products to overcome those barriers. This paper also investigates the potential of using novel plant attributes that are not readily apparent in retail outlets to generate consumer interest in indoor foliage plants.
Nurseries are a vital part of the citrus industry in Florida, providing growers with trees for replanting and expanding citrus groves. As part of the response to citrus greening and canker disease in the industry, nursery-aimed regulations were set in place to try to guarantee the production of trees “free of virus or other graft transmittable diseases” in plant nurseries. The new regulations resulted in an important shift for producers from traditional open field groves to greenhouses. This 4-page fact sheet describes an experiment performed at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida REC in Apopka to test the profitability of different inputs in citrus-producing greenhouse nurseries and provides recommendations that will be useful for the whole citrus-tree-producing sector. Written by Hayk Khachatryan and Alicia Rihn and published by the Food and Resource Economics Department.
Pollinator insects are essential to world food crop production, the economy, and the environment. Neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides are facing intense backlash from environmental groups because the systemic protection they provide throughout the plant, including the pollen and nectar, may be injuring pollinator insects and causing their population decline. But many nursery and greenhouse growers use neonic-based pesticide control measures because they are effective, inexpensive, and cause less environmental damage than other insecticides. The increased publicity may influence consumer demand and preferences but very few studies have investigated consumer responses to neonic-free labels, and evidence suggests that many consumers have little knowledge or awareness of the issue. This 3-page fact sheet describes the results of a the study investigating how consumers’ awareness of neonic insecticides influenced their preferences and purchasing behavior for plants and exploring the marketing potential of using alternate pollinator promotions (besides neonic-free) in garden center retail outlets. Written by Hayk Khachatryan and published by the Food and Resource Economics Department.
Widespread urbanization in the United States has increased the number of lawns. A healthy lawn provides many benefits, including urban heat dissipation, water quality protection, erosion control, carbon sequestration, community safety, aesthetics, and property value growth. Many homeowners maintain their healthy lawns by applying fertilizers throughout the growing season, but excess fertilizer runoff and leaching have received much attention recently because of waterway pollution and algae blooms, leading many states to place restrictions on what chemicals can be used in lawn fertilizers.
Consumers’ increased environmental awareness creates a niche opportunity for the fertilizer industry to promote environmentally friendly lawn fertilizers, but in order to effectively exploit it, industry stakeholders must understand consumer purchasing behavior before expending labor, time, and money creating products for sale. The following 3-page report written by Hayk Khachatryan, Alicia Rihn, and Michael Dukes and published by the Food and Resource Economics Department covers research methodology and the existing brand awareness and selection of consumers in the lawn fertilizer industry. It also discusses homeowners’ preferences for certain fertilizer attributes. Consumer awareness, selection, and attribute preferences indicate existing behavior, and understanding existing behavior assists in the development of effective marketing programs, promotional strategies, and policies.
This 4-page report from the Food and Resource Economics Department and the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center compares the effects of plant type, price, production method, and origin attributes on consumer preferences for fruit-producing plants. Authors Hayk Khachatryan and Alicia Rihn present the results of a survey of Florida plant consumers conducted in June and July of 2014 to rate their likelihood of purchasing plants with various attributes, reporting that production methods do indeed directly influence consumers’ preferences for fruit-producing plants. The article describes the implications for the environmental horticulture industry and provides suggestions for growers and retailers to more effectively market their plants.
Consumer preferences for home lawn fertilizers are not always informed and do not always align with best practices. Understanding the disconnect will help turf industry educators better address consumers’ misperceptions about fertilizers, and help industry stakeholders design more appealing products and educate consumers effectively as they promote them. Knowing consumer preferences greatly reduces stakeholders’ risks and improves efficiency in determining future product and promotional strategies. This 4-page report discusses the findings of a 2013 survey of 1,066 US homeowners about their preferences and willingness-to-pay for various lawn fertilizer attributes. Written by Hayk Khachatryan, Alicia Rihn, and Michael Dukes and published by the Food and Resource Economics Department.
Consumer demand for local products is increasing all the time because of perceptions of superior quality and the idea that local products benefit personal health, the local community, and the environment. Many states have publicly funded marketing programs to promote the consumption of local products. In a new development in Florida, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has partnered with the Florida Nursery, Growers, and Landscape Association to include horticulture plants in the state’s Fresh from Florida campaign for the first time. This 3-page report written by Hayk Khachatryan and Alicia Rihn and published by the Food and Resource Economics Department provides an overview of Florida consumer perceptions of the new Fresh from Florida campaign for horticultural plants. Growers, wholesalers, marketers, and retailers can use the tips inside to understand consumer perceptions and discover how best to use the promotional materials of the new program to reach consumers, reduce economic risks and improve their returns on investment.
Horticultural consumers in Florida are interested in local and organically produced plants. But these terms can mean different things in different regions. UF/IFAS researchers conducted a survey last summer which suggests that consumers in central Florida define local as plants that are grown near where they are sold and identify the most important local benefits as product safety, quality, and community support. Organic plants are perceived as requiring fewer chemical additives and being healthier for the environment. The importance of these traits varies by plant type. This 5-page fact sheet was written by Hayk Khachatryan and Alicia Rihn, and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, February 2015.
Eye-tracking technology is a means of exploring the relationship between visual attention and consumer behavior. In the past, eye-tracking technology has been used to conduct research on consumer decision-making, marketing, and advertising. This 5-page fact sheet serves as an introduction to eye-tracking technology and methodology. Written by Hayk Khachatryan and Alicia L. Rihn, and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, July 2014.
US firms that sell nursery and garden products have become more interested in effective advertising and promotion strategies. A major question for these green industry firms is how to stimulate additional sales. This 3-page fact sheet was written by Hayk Khachatryan, Alicia Rihn, Marco A. Palma, and Charles R. Hall, and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, August 2014.