Consumers' Response to "Neonic-Free" and Other Insect Pollinator Promotions on Ornamental Plants

bee pollinating citrus flower

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.