Orange County

Plants Labeled as “Pollinator Friendly” Attract Consumers, UF/IFAS Study Finds

According to a recent study by UF/IFAS researchers, labels such as “pollinator friendly” will likely influence which plants customers end up buying in a nursery or home improvement store. Postdoctoral research associate Alicia Rihn and assistant professor Hayk Khachatryan co-authored the study. Both Rihn and Khachatryan are researchers in the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, Florida.

Rihn and Khachatryan wanted to know how labels such as “pollinator friendly” would influence consumer attitudes. The researchers surveyed more than 900 people from across the country who recently bought plants and measured their responses to several pollinator labels that ranged from general (such as pollinator attractive, pollinator friendly, and plants for pollinators) to pollinator-specific (such as bee attractive, bee friendly, and butterfly friendly).

The researchers found that people preferred general labels over specific ones. “Pollinator friendly” was the most preferred overall.

Given recent media coverage of bee health and population decline, the authors were anticipating more interest in bee-related promotions. However, consumers preferred “pollinator friendly” labels over more specific bee-related labels.

Pollinator promotions could have both economic and environmental implications. Khachatryan stated, “Providing consumers with a product they support and want to purchase in order to do their part and help the pollinators is one way that companies can better serve their clientele. In turn, this has potential to increase the availability of pollinator friendly plants in the landscape and assist in improving pollinator health.”

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UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

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