How are consumer attitudes towards eco-labeled products affected by a profusion of labels? This article provides both theoretical and empirical insight into this issue. Assuming that consumers perceive a label both as a sign of quality and of a particular characteristic of a product, we deduce theoretical determinants for preferences for three types of label: a health label, an eco-label and a fair trade label. We enrich this analysis by synthesizing most empirical determinants of eco-labeling demand mentioned in the literature. Using a French survey on seafood products, the estimation of a rank-ordered multinomial logit with random intercepts shows a certain proximity between the profiles of pro-eco-label and pro-fair trade label consumers, whereas pro-health label individuals have a more distinct profile: The two former are more likely to be young men mainly concerned with fishing conditions, whereas the latter are older married women with children who pay attention to the product form. We relate preferences for labels to degree of altruism, environmental consciousness and other socio-economic features.
©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston