1 Department of Marketing and Statistics, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 MAPP - Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Marketing and Sustainability, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University4 Deptartment of Marketing, University of Potsdam5 Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University6 Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Although corporate social responsibility has been a fashionable concept in PR and corporate strategy for several years now, its potential in consumer marketing has largely remained unexplored. The present study focuses on the specific case of fair trade labels. Altogether 200 German consumers participated in a discrete choice experiment. Willingness to pay was estimated based on participants' choices between different orange juice brands. The experimental design included presence versus absence of a fair trade label as a generic attribute, price as an alternative-specific attribute, and prior awareness of fair trade labels and prior experience with fair trade products as individual-differences variables. Results indicated that consumer willingness to pay for fair trade labels was significant and positive under virtually all experimental conditions, and increased further when the fair trade label was combined with a strong manufacturer brand, when participants had prior experience with fair-trade products, and when participants had high prior awareness of fair trade labels. Based on the parameter estimates, price response functions were fitted, and changes in market shares were predicted for each brand under the assumption that a fair trade label was included on the product package. It is concluded that fair trade certification may result yield real competitive advantage for producers of consumer goods, and that the generality of the observed effects should be investigated in other product categories and consumer markets.