Rhode Island Branding Program for Local Seafood

Consumer Perceptions, Awareness, and Willingness-to-Pay





Seafood, Local Seafood, Local Food, Consumer Behavior, Consumer Preferences, Willingness-to-Pay, Local Branding Program, State Branding Program


A state brand was created for Rhode Island (RI) seafood in an effort to encourage the development of the fishing and aquaculture industries. Little was done to assess RI consumers, however, regarding their perceptions and understanding of local sea­food. Therefore, a survey (N=968) of RI consum­ers at least 18 years old was implemented to assess consumer perceptions, purchasing choices, and understanding of local seafood. The majority of RI consumers, regardless of income, education, and locality, would prefer local seafood if they could easily find it in the market and if they could trust the brand to identify product choices. The top three places to purchase seafood were supermar­kets, seafood specialty stores, and restaurants. Sea­food quality, taste preference, safety at pur­chase, and absence of contaminants were con­sidered important or very important factors influ­encing purchasing decisions; however, respondents felt only somewhat knowledgeable about key sea­food attributes. More than half of survey consum­ers (66%) felt that the branding logo, created by the RI Department of Environmental Manage­ment, would encourage them to select a local sea­food product, and 53% indicated they would be more willing to try a seafood product if it were labeled local. However, only 12% of respond­ents recog­nized the brand for local RI seafood. This informa­tion will be used by state partners to help develop an outreach strategy to promote the RI seafood brand and local seafood and will be used to inform current policy regarding branding.

See the press release for this article. 


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Author Biographies

Nicole L. Richard, University of Rhode Island

Food Safety Outreach/Research Program, Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science

Lori F. Pivarnik, University of Rhode Island

Food Safety Outreach/Research Program, Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science



How to Cite

Richard, N., & Pivarnik, L. (2020). Rhode Island Branding Program for Local Seafood: Consumer Perceptions, Awareness, and Willingness-to-Pay. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(2), 13–29. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2020.092.011