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On the Mechanics of the Organic Label Effect: How Does Organic Labeling Change Consumer Evaluation of Food Products?

Andras Kun () and Marietta Kiss
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Marietta Kiss: Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Debrecen, 4032 Debrecen, Hungary

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 3, 1-25

Abstract: The literature on the effect of organic labels on consumers’ perception of food products has grown significantly over the last two decades. Since the number of empirical studies has also increased greatly, a literature review revealing the operational definitions of the organic label effect (OLE), which have evolved among researchers, has become necessary. Accordingly, in the current article, 82 studies are reviewed. It was found that studies cluster around two interpretations: they define the OLE either as a change in the evaluation of a given product or as a change in the evaluation of the difference between an organic and a conventional product resulted from organic labeling. We term the first approach the absolute OLE and the latter the relative OLE. Our analysis shows that, when applied separately, these two interpretations might lead to significantly different measurement results, but they can be merged into one concept. We argue that organic labeling affects not only the evaluation of products receiving the organic label but the evaluation of competing products without such a label as well. We reveal that the relative OLE is equivalent to the difference between the absolute effects of organic labeling on the labeled and on the unlabeled products.

Keywords: labeling effect; food labeling; organic label; absolute effect; relative effect; conceptualization; consumer evaluation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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