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Using Origin Information on Ornamental Plants

Thu, Apr 4th, 2024, created by Alicia L. Rihn

Demand for local products has increased since the Great Recession with a heavy focus on fresh produce (fruits, vegetables). Several studies have addressed local origin information on ornamental plants. Overall, consumers prefer local or domestically grown ornamental plants over imported plants with a greater premium occurring for those from closer origins (i.e., local or in-state production). The rationale behind these preferences is that plants are alive and subject to the local environment, pests, and diseases. As a result, consumers perceive local plants as having improved likelihood of survival due to acclimation and resistance to disease / pests. Beyond the physiological perceptions, consumers also believe that local ornamental plants are higher quality due to shorter shipping distances and aid local growers and communities. Many ornamental plants are sold close to where they are grown (Wei et al., 2020), meaning informing customers about the plantsí origins has potential to generate value amongst customers. Ways to communicate this information include point-of-sale signs, labels, and brands (e.g., state promotion programs) that clearly articulate the proximity of the farms producing the plants. Graphics showing transportation distance may help customers visualize the origins of their purchases. Regardless of how origin information is conveyed, informing customers about the origins of their plant purchases is one means of generating value and interest for the customer.

About the Author:

Alicia L. Rihn

Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee

Alicia has been at the University of Tennessee since July 2020. Her area of expertise is in marketing and consumer behavior with an emphasis on ornamental horticulture products. She also addresses niche markets, value-added ag, willingness-to-pay, and promotional strategies to encourage plant purchasing behavior. 

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