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 Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University4 Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre - Aarhus BSS Communication, Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University5 Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University6 Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre - Aarhus BSS Communication, Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
It is usual practice to evaluate the success of a labelling scheme by looking at the awareness percentage, but in many cases this is not sufficient. The awareness percentage gives no indication of which of the consumer segments that are aware of and use labelling schemes and which do not. In the spring of 2001 MAPP carried out an extensive consumer study with special emphasis on the Nordic environmentally friendly label 'the swan'. The purpose was to find out how much consumers actually know and use various labelling schemes. 869 households were contacted and asked to fill in a questionnaire. 664 households returned a completed questionnaire. There were five answering categories for each label in the questionnaire: * have not seen the label before. * I have seen the label before but I do not know the precise contents of the labelling scheme. * I have seen the label before, I do not know the precise contents of the labelling scheme but I take the label into consideration when I go shopping. * I have seen the label before, I know what it stands for but I do not take the label into consideration when I go shopping. * I have seen the label before, I know what it stands for and I take it into consideration when I go shopping. The respondent was asked to pick the most suitable answer, which described her use of each label. 29% - also called 'the labelling blind' - responded that they basically only knew the recycling label and the Government controlled organic label 'Ø-mærket'. Another segment of 6% got the name 'the exposed' They were familiar with the different labelling schemes but did not quite know the precise contents. A segment of 40% were 'deliberate rejecters'. They knew most of the schemes but had chosen not to use them. The last 25% were called 'deliberate users' as they knew and used labelling schemes. Mass communication such as TV commercials will have very different impact on each of the four segments. It might be possible to increase the knowledge of 'the labelling blind' from 52% to 75%, but the use of the label would only rise from 16% to 18%. The awareness percentage of 'the deliberate users' is already 95% and they are therefore very difficult to influence further. 'The exposed' is such a small segment that it would not be worthwhile trying to convince them. On the other hand one could try to influence 'the deliberate rejecters'. But it would most likely be a waste of money to carry out a campaign targeted at this segment. The awareness percentage is already 92 % and 67% of the respondents believe they know the meaning of the scheme. But it stands to reason to study whether the respondents actually know what the labelling scheme stands for or if they just think they do. If there is discrepancy between their perceptions of the contents of the schemes, this might be the reason why the scheme is not observed when they shop.