Rhode Island Branding Program for Local Seafood
Consumer Perceptions, Awareness, and Willingness-to-Pay
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.
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