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Special Issue "Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Food".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Oliver Meixner
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Marketing and Innovation, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Gregor-Mendel-Straße 33, 1180 Vienna, Austria
Interests: consumer behavior; food supply chain; decision making in the agri-food sector; corporate social responsibility; innovation management; sustainable food consumption
Prof. Dr. Petra Riefler
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Marketing and Innovation, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Gregor-Mendel-Straße 33, 1180 Vienna, Austria
Interests: consumer behavior; consumer motifs for regional food consumption; consumer perspectives on corporate social responsibility; concepts of sustainable consumer behavior; concepts of consumption reduction/sufficiency
Dr. Karin Schanes
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Marketing and Innovation, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Gregor-Mendel-Straße 33, 1180 Vienna, Austria
Interests: consumer behavior; sustainable food consumption; food waste; food initiatives and movements

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is a pleasure to invite you to submit original research contributions in the field of sustainable food marketing and consumer behavior. Sustainability is a topic of increasing importance, in particular across all stages along the food supply chain. In order to facilitate sustainability in the supply chain, target 12 of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is especially dedicated to sustainable consumption and production.

Food companies will need to effectively incorporate social responsibility into their business actions. There is a consensus that also individuals need to alter their current consumption patterns to achieve a more sustainable way of living and to reduce impacts on the environment and society.

Beyond individual changes in consumer behavior and along the supply chain, there has been an increasing interest in community-based initiatives and movements (e.g., alternative food networks, community gardens, food sharing). Groupings of people collectively strive to develop practical alternatives that often add to and/or replace existing processes and structures which are incompatible with their visions of a sustainable society.

In times of growing challenges such as climate change, increasing world population and food demand, shortages of arable land, and urbanization, sustainable consumer behavior is of significant importance to achieve the SDGs and climate goals. For this Special Issue, we welcome original submissions that are linked to the following subject areas:

  • Marketing for green food products
  • Consumer decision-making for sustainable food and beverages
  • Communication of sustainability within the food supply chain
  • Organic, seasonal, and regional food consumption
  • Corporate social responsibility in the food supply chain
  • Community-based initiatives and movements in the food sector (e.g., food sharing, alternative food networks, community gardens)
  • Carbon-friendly consumer behavior within the food domain (e.g., reduction of meat consumption and food waste, sufficiency)
  • Cross-national aspect of sustainable marketing in the food sector

Assoc. Prof. Oliver Meixner
Prof. Dr. Petra Riefler
Dr. Karin Schanes
Guest Editors

References:

  1. Bangsa, A.B., & Schlegelmilch, B.B. (2019). Linking sustainable product attributes and consumer decision-making: Insights from a systematic review. Journal of Cleaner Production (in press). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.118902
  2. Lunde, M.B. (2018). Sustainability in marketing: a systematic review unifying 20 years of theoretical and substantive contributions (1997–2016) AMS Rev 8 (3-4), 85-110. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13162-018-0124-0
  3. O’Keefe, L., McLachlan, C., Gough, C., Mander, S., & Bows-Larkin, A. (2016). Consumer responses to a future UK food system. British Food Journal 118 (2), 412-428. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-01-2015-0047
  4. Olson, E.L. (2013). It’s not easy being green: the effects of attribute tradeoffs on green product preference and choice J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 41, 171-184. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-012-0305-6

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • consumer behavior
  • green products
  • climate change
  • sustainable food
  • community-based initiatives
  • sufficiency
  • food waste reduction
  • corporate social responsibility

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Article
Empirical Detection and Quantification of Price Transmission in Endogenously Unstable Markets: The Case of the Global–Domestic Coffee Supply Chain in Papua New Guinea
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9172; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169172 - 16 Aug 2021
Viewed by 406
Abstract
Price transmission through global–domestic agricultural supply chains is a fundamental indicator of domestic market efficiency and producer welfare. Conventional price-transmission econometrics test for a theory-based spatial-arbitrage restriction that long-run equilibrium prices in spatially distinct markets differ by no more than transaction costs. The [...] Read more.
Price transmission through global–domestic agricultural supply chains is a fundamental indicator of domestic market efficiency and producer welfare. Conventional price-transmission econometrics test for a theory-based spatial-arbitrage restriction that long-run equilibrium prices in spatially distinct markets differ by no more than transaction costs. The conventional approach is ill-equipped to test for price transmission when endogenously unstable markets do not equilibrate due to systematic arbitrage-frustrating frictions including financial and institutional transaction costs and biophysical constraints. We propose a novel empirical framework using price data to test for market stability and price transmission along international-domestic supply chains incorporating nonlinear time series analysis and recently emerging causal-detection methods from empirical nonlinear dynamics. We apply the framework to map-out and quantify price transmission through the global-exporter–processor–producer coffee supply chain in Papua, New Guinea. We find empirical evidence of upstream price transmission from the global market to domestic exporters and processors, but not through to producers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
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Article
To Purchase or Not to Purchase? Drivers of Consumers’ Preferences for Animal Welfare in Their Meat Choice
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9100; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169100 - 13 Aug 2021
Viewed by 413
Abstract
This study investigates the relevance of psychological constructs in determining consumer intention to buy and Willingness-To-Pay (WTP) for a processed meat product, cured ham, differentiated by the attributes of animal welfare, ham variety, and price. Data obtained from an online survey conducted in [...] Read more.
This study investigates the relevance of psychological constructs in determining consumer intention to buy and Willingness-To-Pay (WTP) for a processed meat product, cured ham, differentiated by the attributes of animal welfare, ham variety, and price. Data obtained from an online survey conducted in Germany was used to estimate an integrated choice and latent variable (ICLV) model, which is based on an extension of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) framework. There are two consumer segments that are identified: one that is highly price sensitive in its product choice and one that gives roughly equal weight to the animal welfare, ham variety, and price attributes. The ICLV model shows consistency across the two groups regarding the importance of psychological constructs—moral norms, attitude, and perceived behavioral control—in explaining respondent intentions to buy cured ham and their stated product choice. Subjective norms, however, are only a significant determinant of consumer intention to buy cured ham for the price sensitive consumer group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
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Article
What Stirs Consumers to Purchase Carbon-Friendly Food? Investigating the Motivational and Emotional Aspects in Three Studies
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8377; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158377 - 27 Jul 2021
Viewed by 939
Abstract
As part of diminishing climate change, food consumption needs to be addressed to reduce greenhouse gases. In order to change food consumption habits to carbon-friendly eating patterns, consumers may be targeted by information campaigns and legal regulation. The current paper studies consumers’ diets [...] Read more.
As part of diminishing climate change, food consumption needs to be addressed to reduce greenhouse gases. In order to change food consumption habits to carbon-friendly eating patterns, consumers may be targeted by information campaigns and legal regulation. The current paper studies consumers’ diets and food purchase behavior. In particular, it aims to understand consumers’ motivational and emotional aspects that influence their behavior. Study 1, an interview study, aims to understand the development of and motivations for climate-friendly nutrition. Identifying eco-friendly motives also revealed that emotions seem to play an important role in nutrition and the purchase of climate-friendly products. Study 2 aims at identifying consumers’ positive and negative emotions when it comes to consuming carbon-friendly food. Again, qualitative interviews revealed a variety of positive and negative emotions. Study 3 quantitatively tested the theory of planned behavior, including positive and negative emotions and predicted carbon-friendly food purchases. The results show that attitudes, perceived behavioral control and positive emotions predict carbon-friendly food purchases. Derived from these findings, recommendations for information campaigns and legislation to foster carbon-friendly food purchases are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
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Article
Community-Based Tourism through Food: A Proposal of Sustainable Tourism Indicators for Isolated and Rural Destinations in Mexico
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6693; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126693 - 12 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1005
Abstract
Purpose: this article presents a conceptual framework for examining community tourism as a sustainable livelihood through food tourism, considering the significant increase in community-based tourism in Mexico and the impact this activity has on rural and vulnerable destinations. The main aim of this [...] Read more.
Purpose: this article presents a conceptual framework for examining community tourism as a sustainable livelihood through food tourism, considering the significant increase in community-based tourism in Mexico and the impact this activity has on rural and vulnerable destinations. The main aim of this research is to generate a proposal for a set of sustainable tourism indicators for rural and isolated communities through food strategies geared towards tourism development. Methodology: this information can then be used to generate a first list of indicators for creating and evaluating community tourism proposals in a region. Said theoretical list includes four dimensions (socio-cultural, environmental, tourist, and economic), which comprise 27 indicators in total. Findings: the results, validated by different participants related to the tourism sector, show that a lack of information for quantifying indicators is one of the main limitations when evaluating a vulnerable destination and that participation by the private sector and public administrations will be essential in generating these data. Approach: this research will therefore contribute to the development of new action strategies that allow not only the strengthening of the current localized agri-food systems, but also the revaluation of forgotten food systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
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Article
Sustainable Consumption of Food: Framing the Concept through Turkish Expert Opinions
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3946; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073946 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 615
Abstract
The scarcity of natural resources together with the exponentially increasing world population has made the sustainable consumption of food (SCF) a crucial issue, as it has impacts on a variety of environmental, health, economic, and social dimensions. Considering the rarity of a holistic [...] Read more.
The scarcity of natural resources together with the exponentially increasing world population has made the sustainable consumption of food (SCF) a crucial issue, as it has impacts on a variety of environmental, health, economic, and social dimensions. Considering the rarity of a holistic view in previous studies, this study aims to assess the current situation in sustainable food consumption and develop suggestions from all aspects, depending on the opinions of experts. In this direction, semi-structured interviews are conducted with 25 experts from Turkey to frame the concept of SCF, reveal the level of consumers’ awareness, and provide suggestions to support SCF implications. Experts have considered SCF from ecologic, social, economic, and health perspectives; ecologic aspects being the most important, followed by economic and social perspectives. Deficits on the consumer side are lack of awareness, unplanned shopping, and mistakes in post-consumption behavior. Lack of awareness about the consequences of meat production, difficulties in changing lifestyles and lack of motivation of adults were identified barriers to SCF. Finally, suggestions of the experts for achieving sustainability are mostly relevant to raising awareness on balanced nutrition and food waste, with the help of training programs and the efficient use of communication channels, such as social media. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
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Article
Perceived Consequences: General or Specific? The Case of Palm Oil-Free Products
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3550; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063550 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 708
Abstract
Palm oil production and consumption involve several consequences, the perception of which are significant factors that influence consumer behavior. The aim of our research is to explore which health, environmental, or social consequences associated with palm oil influence consumers most in their behavior [...] Read more.
Palm oil production and consumption involve several consequences, the perception of which are significant factors that influence consumer behavior. The aim of our research is to explore which health, environmental, or social consequences associated with palm oil influence consumers most in their behavior to avoid palm oil. We examined the three risk types from two approaches: from the viewpoint of generally perceived consequences, and the viewpoint of consequences perceived specifically in relation to palm oil. We collected data through an online consumer survey (n = 336), and we applied the method of structural equation modeling to achieve our research aim. According to our results, depending on the approach, all three consequence types influence consumer purchase intentions. Of them, the perceived effects of palm oil on health have the strongest influence on consumption intent, followed by environmental damage caused by palm oil production. The effect of general health consequences show indirect significance through information seeking, which also indicates the importance of the approach to consequence perception. Indirectly or directly, only general social consequences influence purchase intent. Our research suggests that companies developing palm oil-free products could benefit from a label on the product stating their palm oil-free nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
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Article
Who Wants Chicken? Uncovering Consumer Preferences for Produce of Alternative Chicken Product Methods
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2440; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052440 - 24 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 733
Abstract
As ethical and environmental concerns regarding current poultry production systems arise, consumers look for alternatives. This study assesses consumers’ preferences for chicken meat of dual-purpose breeds (DPBs), regionally produced feedstuff, and specific breeds, along with attitudes and social norms that explain these preferences. [...] Read more.
As ethical and environmental concerns regarding current poultry production systems arise, consumers look for alternatives. This study assesses consumers’ preferences for chicken meat of dual-purpose breeds (DPBs), regionally produced feedstuff, and specific breeds, along with attitudes and social norms that explain these preferences. We conducted an online survey (n = 934) including a discrete choice experiment and elements of the theory of planned behavior. Results show that after price, product and feedstuff origin are preferred by consumers, followed by breeding form and specific breed. Utilities for each attribute and level were calculated and consumer segments were created using latent class analysis. Three different consumer groups were identified: (1) price-sensitive consumers, (2) price-sensitive and origin-oriented consumers, and (3) origin-oriented consumers. We conclude that although consumers are interested in meat from DPBs, this attribute alone is not enough to influence the purchase decision, and geographical origin seems to be of crucial importance. However, by highlighting important attributes (i.e., animal welfare, regional/local production), DPB products could be introduced to the market. The consumption of these alternative products has economic implications, such as not relying on imports and promoting local production/consumption, along with social implications as refraining from killing day-old chicks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
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Article
Gaining Trust in the Digital Age: The Potential of Social Media for Increasing the Competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1884; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041884 - 09 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1534
Abstract
Trust in information originating from a company is becoming essential, as consumer preferences are increasingly versatile and oriented towards credence attributes. Social media, which emerged as a dominant means of online communication, might help increase consumers’ trust in companies. The paper empirically investigates [...] Read more.
Trust in information originating from a company is becoming essential, as consumer preferences are increasingly versatile and oriented towards credence attributes. Social media, which emerged as a dominant means of online communication, might help increase consumers’ trust in companies. The paper empirically investigates a conceptual trust-building mechanism that could occur on companies’ social media pages. A survey was conducted among social media users in Belgrade (Serbia). The collected data were analyzed using covariance-based structural equation modeling. It confirmed that in an interactive environment of companies’ social media pages, trust can be built towards two objects. The first one is trust among consumers, and the second one is trust towards a company. The results also confirm a connection between trust and an intention to purchase, both being also related to a consumer’s willingness to obtain information. Therefore, the result can serve as a basis for creating more effective marketing campaigns where a company is the source of information regarding credence (added-value) attributes of its products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
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Article
Spontaneous Variety-Seeking Meal Choice in Business Canteens Impedes Sustainable Production
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 746; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020746 - 14 Jan 2021
Viewed by 562
Abstract
Sustainable meal choices in the out-of-home catering market are essential to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. This study investigated consumers’ acceptance of different features that help service providers to work more sustainably. For this purpose, data of a choice experiment and a supporting [...] Read more.
Sustainable meal choices in the out-of-home catering market are essential to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. This study investigated consumers’ acceptance of different features that help service providers to work more sustainably. For this purpose, data of a choice experiment and a supporting online questionnaire were analyzed using latent class analysis (LCA) and the data of n = 373 employees. Examined attributes in the choice experiment were menu variety, menu type, ordering system, ingredients and price. LCA led to four consumer segments: variety seekers (27.6%), spontaneous decisionmakers—vegetarian (25.7%), spontaneous decisionmakers—meat (24.1%) and vegetarians/vegans (22.6%). Results showed that consumers in all four segments expected to have the choice between different menus in company canteens. Moreover, they preferred spontaneous choice to preordering. Both preferences hamper sustainable production and consumption in the catering sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
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Article
Why Not Green Marketing? Determinates of Consumers’ Intention to Green Purchase Decision in a New Developing Nation
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7880; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197880 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3659
Abstract
Consumers are paying close attention to green products to reduce the environmental impact on health issues. As the scope of this research, this current study focuses on determining consumers’ purchase decisions regarding green products using a survey conducted in a fast-growing developing country. [...] Read more.
Consumers are paying close attention to green products to reduce the environmental impact on health issues. As the scope of this research, this current study focuses on determining consumers’ purchase decisions regarding green products using a survey conducted in a fast-growing developing country. This research was descriptive and considered a conceptual framework for extending the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), which was selected as the primary theoretical model. The significant contributions and main objectives of this study are as follows—to explore the present scenario of green marketing in Bangladesh with previous studies, and to fill a research gap regarding green purchase decisions by applying the TPB model with adding additional constructs, such as environmental concerns, green perceived quality, and future green estimates. A range of qualitative and quantitative techniques were adopted to collect data from the target groups, where a sample of young educated Bangladeshi consumers (n = 638) was used to consider the measurement and structural models by applying a partial least squares-structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) method. The empirical findings show that consumers’ environmental concern (EC), green perceived benefits (GPB), green awareness of price (GAP), green willingness to purchase (GWP), and future estimation of green marketing (GFE) have a strong positive influence on consumer’ green purchase decision (GPD). Still, the green perceived quality (GPQ) has a negative influence on green purchase decisions (GPD). To inform consumers about green or eco-friendly products, this study provides valuable suggestions to companies, marketers, and policymakers for designing green marketing tools such as green advertising, green branding, and eco-labels. Based on these findings, it gives some managerial insights for the promotion of green products and green marketing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
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Article
Consumers’ Evaluation of Stockfree-Organic Agriculture—A Segmentation Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4230; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104230 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1094
Abstract
Recently, more and more research has been conducted on what sustainable nutrition could look like. Stockfree-organic agriculture is one possible approach but a relatively new and unstudied cultivation method. In addition to organic agriculture, it excludes any animal by-products during the whole cultivation [...] Read more.
Recently, more and more research has been conducted on what sustainable nutrition could look like. Stockfree-organic agriculture is one possible approach but a relatively new and unstudied cultivation method. In addition to organic agriculture, it excludes any animal by-products during the whole cultivation process. Among the consumers of organic food are especially many vegetarians and vegans. To attract this target group, first farms in Europe have started to follow the stockfree-organic agriculture principles. As it is important to know the consumers’ point of view on new developments in agriculture at an early stage of the diffusion process, this study deals with consumers’ evaluation of stockfree-organic agriculture to draw conclusions about a possible market potential. This is especially important for stockfree-organic farmers, as well as for organic farmers who are considering converting their cultivation method, and for retailers who wonder whether it is worthwhile to offer these products. The data was collected in 2019 by means of an online survey. The sample consisted of 500 German respondents. Principal component and cluster analyses were used to identify consumer segments according to their attitudes towards the acceptance, advantages, and disadvantages of stockfree-organic agriculture. Additionally, the different segments were compared with each other according to various attitudes and eating behaviours. Overall, animal welfare considerations and environmental aspects were of particular importance to consumers. Animal usage was clearly rejected by one segment, which contained 24% of the sample. Nearly all vegetarians and all vegans supported stockfree-organic agriculture, whereas heavy meat consumers tended to refuse the support of stockfree-organic agriculture. The supporting group valuing high animal welfare and health concerns was much larger than the current status of this niche segment would suggest. This could be a major challenge for the agricultural sector in the long term, but could also include opportunities for greater sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
Article
Factors Influencing the Willingness to Pay for Aquaponic Products in a Developed Food Market: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3475; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083475 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1876
Abstract
Even in highly developed food markets, aquaponic products have not yet been successfully introduced. This is particularly surprising, as aquaponics is an excellent example of a sustainable circulation food production system. The purpose of this empirical study was to determine the factors that [...] Read more.
Even in highly developed food markets, aquaponic products have not yet been successfully introduced. This is particularly surprising, as aquaponics is an excellent example of a sustainable circulation food production system. The purpose of this empirical study was to determine the factors that influence consumers’ willingness to pay for aquaponic products. The direct and indirect relationships were tested via Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). Primary data of 315 respondents from Austria were collected. The findings revealed that the willingness to pay for aquaponic products was significantly and directly driven by the purchase intention. As a result, the successful implementation of aquaponics in the market requires the provision of information for consumers. We suggest emphasizing the value of aquaponics as a sustainable food production system, since indirect factors that influence the willingness to pay are (besides the assessment of aquaponics) environmental awareness and green consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior and Food Marketing)
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