The Value of a Word: Estimating the Implicit Prices of Popular Finfish and Shellfish Labeling Practices in the U.S. Public Deposited

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  • Using three years of weekly ACNielsen Scantrack data, this study aims to estimate the implicit prices of labeling retail finfish and shellfish in the U.S. with harvest-specific information, such as “wild” ‚“Atlantic”‚ “Pacific” or “imported”. Recent concerns for the availability of wild-caught supplies has led to increasing interest for labeling products to reflect sustainability of the underlying stocks and associated habitats. Past stated preference research has shown that product specific attributes such as species, package size, product form, and labels reflecting location and type of harvest can affect price. Within the past decade, various labels -some backed by third-party certification programs - have been developed to convey sustainable harvesting practices in the market place. Recent studies have shown that seafood products sold with certified labels have commanded higher retail prices using revealed preference data, however, this literature is very limited. Few, if any, studies have assessed the revealed value of harvest-specific labeling that is not associated with a certified label. To help address this gap in the literature, the ACNeilsen data is used to examine the value of labeling terms used at the retail level on products both with and without a “wild” label for finfish and an “imported” level for shellfish, which are the key descriptors in each data set. Implicit prices are calculated for labeling attributes, and comparisons are made by region, species, promotional activity, and seasonality. The results show that basic information on packages may hold value to consumers, exclusive of certified labels.
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  • Larkin, S. & Gold, G. The Value of a Word: Estimating the Implicit Prices of Popular Finfish and Shellfish Labeling Practices in the U.S. In Visible Possibilities: The Economics of Sustainable Fisheries, Aquaculture and Seafood Trade: Proceedings of the Sixteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 16-20, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Edited by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2012.
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