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All-natural versus organic: are the labels equivalent in consumers’ minds?

Clinton Amos (John B Goddard School of Business and Economics, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, USA)
James C. Hansen (John B Goddard School of Business and Economics, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, USA)
Skyler King (John B Goddard School of Business and Economics, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 29 March 2019

Issue publication date: 18 June 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate inferences consumers make about organic and all-natural labeled products in both food and non-food contexts using the health halo effect as a theoretical foundation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses three experiments to test the effects of organic and all-natural labeling across three product types, food, personal hygiene and household cleaning, while controlling for environmental attitudes.

Findings

The results of the experiments in the context of food, personal hygiene and household cleaning products suggest that both organic and all-natural labeling produce halo effects. Distinct findings are presented across the three product types.

Research limitations/implications

Findings indicate that consumers may make unwarranted inferences about both organic and all-natural labeled products and demonstrates that the health halo effect is a potentially robust phenomenon, pervasive across a diverse array of products. This research used a crowdsourcing platform for sample recruitment. Future research should validate the results of these experiments with other sample types.

Practical implications

This research suggests that consumers may make similar unwarranted inferences for diverse products bearing organic and all-natural labels. These inferences are particularly intriguing given the differing regulatory requirements for the labels

Originality/value

Organic and all-natural labels are ubiquitous in both food and non-food products. However, research on either label primarily exists in a food context and has not directly compared the labels. Understanding the inferences consumers make based on the labels across product types is imperative for both marketing and public policy.

Keywords

Citation

Amos, C., Hansen, J.C. and King, S. (2019), "All-natural versus organic: are the labels equivalent in consumers’ minds?", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 516-526. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-05-2018-2664

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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