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Will a green color and nature images make consumers pay more for a green product?

Manoshi Samaraweera (Department of Marketing, College of Business, University of Central Oklahoma , Edmond, Oklahoma, USA)
Jeanetta D. Sims (Department of Marketing, College of Business, University of Central Oklahoma , Edmond, Oklahoma, USA)
Dini M. Homsey (Department of Marketing, College of Business, University of Central Oklahoma , Edmond, Oklahoma, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 15 February 2021

Issue publication date: 11 May 2021

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623

Abstract

Purpose

Would a green color label increase the dollar amount consumers are willing to pay for a green product? Would nature images (such as a leaf or flower) on the label have the same effect? This paper aims to examine the role of these labeling strategies in influencing consumer willing to pay.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a 2 × 3 experiment, the authors empirically test the research questions across two studies: in the controlled-lab setting with 160 students (Study 1) and in a field-setting with 268 consumers shopping at a grocery store (Study 2).

Findings

Results are consistent across both studies. Surprisingly, participants are willing to pay more for the product when it has a white-toned label rather than a green-toned one. Follow-up path analysis, with Study 2 data, reveals that a white-toned label has both an indirect (through more favorable evaluations of the product’s environmental friendliness), as well as a direct impact on willingness to pay. In providing a post hoc explanation, it is argued that a white-toned label better directs attention towards the claim signaling the product’s eco-friendliness, while providing a “clean”, “high-quality” look. In both studies however, nature images on the label did not have a significant effect.

Practical implications

Insights are particularly interesting for practitioners seeking to better label/package green products.

Originality/value

This investigation is the first to empirically examine how color and images on the label influence the dollar amount consumers are willing to pay for a green product. Findings reveal that counter to common belief, the heavy use of the color green on eco-friendly product labels might not be appropriate; a predominantly white-toned label works better.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the funding and support provided by the University of Central Oklahoma, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to carry out the research project.

Citation

Samaraweera, M., Sims, J.D. and Homsey, D.M. (2021), "Will a green color and nature images make consumers pay more for a green product?", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 305-312. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-04-2020-3771

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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