In an effort to support the long-term viability of the bioenergy industry through an end market for digestate, we investigated purchasing preferences for fertilizer product features in the home gardening market. We conducted a discrete choice experiment (DCE), presenting 504 respondents with a total of 6048 product attribute choices in a simulated context that replicated the tradeoff decisions made in the real marketplace. We analyzed the choice data using a hierarchical Bayes estimate to generate part-worth utilities for fertilizer product attributes. We then conducted a latent class analysis to identify market segments that could be expected to respond to differentiated product design strategies. We were able to quantify both purchasing preferences for fertilizer product attributes as well as the importance of each attribute to the perceived utility of a product. We were further able to identify five distinct market segments that make clear the potential for differentiated strategies in the home gardening market. We found both negative and positive price sensitivities, with sociodemographically distinct subgroups that favored low-, mid-, and high-priced products. We also found purchasing preferences for brand status, product labeling and nutrient values. Our results provide insights that should help product managers in the biogas industry develop marketing strategies to integrate digestate into a sustainable energy production system.
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