While many consumers report positive attitudes towards organic and highly sustainable products, sales levels remain relatively low, note researchers writing in Food Quality and Preference.
“For many consumers, the difference between relatively cheap conventional items and more expensive organic products is apparently too large to act upon their good intentions,” wrote the team – led by Erica van Herpen from Wageningen University.
As a result, the team noted that companies offering products at a level of sustainability intermediate between conventional and organic products - rather than catering to the extremes of conventional versus organic products only, has been suggested as a solution.
However, the introduction of products at intermediate levels of sustainability poses new questions, as to how these can best be positioned, they said.
“Effective positioning depends on the product’s attribute levels being communicated (how products are positioned in attribute-space), on their physical display (where products are located in-store), and their interaction.”
“In an experiment with intermediately sustainable meat products, we show that the choice share of these intermediate products is high when price level and physical display signal a consistent positioning of these products,” wrote van Herpen and her colleagues.
“This implies that the effect of layout depends on the price level at which intermediately sustainable products are offered,” they added – noting that when these products are offered at intermediate prices, displaying them in a separate section will increase choice.