Understanding the Importance of Eco-Labeling for Organic Foods at UNESCO Biosphere Reserves: A Case Study of the Cocoa Powder at the Dong Nai, Vietnam

An Thinh Nguyen, Van Dinh Ha, Huy Kien Ngo, Ngoc Anh Le, Phuong Mai Khong, Ngoc Tram Thi Do, Minh Thuan Trinh,Tuan Dat Nguyen, Tran Quoc Khanh Ngo, Linh Chi Vu, My Luong Thi Do, Anh Tu Le, Binh Minh Tran,Van Thuong Nguyen


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This study examines the Willingness-To-Pay (WTP) of consumers and the determinants of eco-labeling for the organic cocoa powder produced in the Dong Nai UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (DNBR), Southern Vietnam. Eco-labels are designed according to Tiers of eco-labeling for biosphere reserves (BR) introduced by UNESCO include BR Destination (Tier 1), BR Quality Label (Tier 2), and Professional Certification Label (Tier 3). Questionnaires are delivered to 203 customers in the DNBR and nearby places, such as Dong Nai and HCMC. This study employs a hybrid approach using descriptive statistics, ANOVA test, and Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Model (PLS-SEM). The results indicate that gender and educational level have a positive effect on consumers' preferences. Customers are willing to pay more for cocoa powder with an eco-label than one with an organic label. Perceived food safety and product knowledge lower customers’ WTP, whereas agricultural environment and pricing concerns increase it. Tier 2 is suggested for labeling cocoa powder in the DNBR. The DNBR Management Board, together with the federal and provincial governments, should all follow a similar certification process. Increased eco-label awareness is crucial for the future of environmentally responsible shopping and responsible business practices.
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