What effect do the Non-Message Labeling Factors (Color, Font, Prominence, and Placement) and Customer Belief Frameworks (Institutional Trust, Eco-Label Framework, and Information Source) have on customers' Willingness to Pay (WTP) for non-GMO Products? The topic of this study is consumer behavior, placed in the context of food history and trends in the United States. This paper also offers a set of best practices for people pursuing a non-GMO product labeling strategy. The method involved an online survey of 217 Arizona State University students who were offered extra credit in their classes in exchange for participation (Appendix 1). The qualitative survey asked participants to measure and explain their preferences for certain non-message labeling factors (color, font, size). Participants also gave information about the Customer Belief Frameworks they use when making purchasing decisions, which consist of ideas and beliefs that are independent of the packaging. The results of the survey led me to create a set of recommended guidelines when designing packaging for a non-GMO product. The survey also gathered qualitative data about Information Source, Biospheric Values, and Institutional Trust. The Review of Literature explains how these Customer Belief Frameworks were previously used in packaging studies to explore external factors that also influence the purchase decision. Given the results of the exploratory survey, I recommend employing the following attributes in non-GMO labeling to maximize profits: utilize labels with green color, wide and light san-serif fonts and in a circular shape. Managers pursuing this strategy should use the verbiage "Non-GMO Verified" rather than simply "Non-GMO", or including the words "Process" and "Project" which can add to consumers' confusion. For added fluency, use medium size and centralized size of the label on the packaging, close in proximity to the brand name. In addition, the Eco-Label Framework findings suggest including messages which appeal to altruistic values can also be beneficial, as participants were mostly concerned with altruistic values (children, family) when talking about genetic modification, climate change and natural disasters.
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