Bridget K. Behe

Bridget K. Behe
Michigan State University | MSU · Department of Horticulture

Ph.D.

About

205
Publications
72,591
Reads
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2,635
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 1997 - present
Michigan State University
Position
  • Professor of Horticulture Marketing and Management
Description
  • Appointment if 40% research, 40% instruction, 20% outreach. Primary research thrust is consumer research for ornamental and edible plants, products, and services with an emphasis on eye-tracking.

Publications

Publications (205)
Article
When evaluating products, consumers rely on cues to infer characteristics such as perceived value and quality. The availability of intrinsic and extrinsic cues to aid in the decision-making process is limited when shopping online, given that consumers rely on website descriptions about the product, limiting opportunities for personal visual inspect...
Article
Plant purchases experienced a surge during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine of 2020. Researchers used an online survey instrument completed by 1,211 U.S. respondents to investigate the diverse motivations for making plant purchases. Researchers compared three age cohorts to understand which plant benefits they derived from their plant purchases. Mi...
Article
Attractive displays can stimulate sales in the retail setting. With most plants still sold in physical retail outlets, the influence of display layout on visual behavior and purchasing is of interest to academicians and practitioners. Using a within-subjects in-lab experiment and eye tracking technology, we explored how the cognitive load imposed b...
Article
Though choice overload has been extensively studied in packaged products, fewer studies have explored these phenomena in minimally packaged agribusiness products such as potted plants. This matters as these products are heterogeneous not only across product categories but also within the same plant genus, changing the baseline cognitive load for co...
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Before consumers choose what and how much fruit to buy, they first decide where to buy it. To address the choices of stores for fresh fruits, this study investigated the influence of market attributes and customers’ attitudes toward their purchasing decisions. Data from a web-based survey of 1658 U.S. consumers were used to conduct multinomial logi...
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The landscape service sector is an important part of the environmental horticulture industry. However, research addressing factors impacting its business and marketing practices are scarce. This manuscript uses data collected via online and mail industry surveys in 2014 and 2019 to investigate U.S. landscape service firms’ advertising and marketing...
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Online advertising is becoming a mainstay business practice to reach firms’ customer bases. Yet, the adoption and use of online advertising in the green industry are topics that have not been adequately researched. Using a national survey of green industry firms conducted in 2019, this research uses a double-hurdle model to investigate factors that...
Article
Marketing on social media has become ubiquitous. Consequently, social media platforms are increasing the level of advertising content that users may later encounter when navigating online shopping websites. It is unclear how this amplification of exposure to marketing messages through social media affects consumers’ attitudes to products online. Fu...
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Farmers markets in low-income, urban areas (LIUA) struggle to establish and sustain themselves. Accordingly, farmer recruitment and retention remain a challenge. This paper examines the perspectives of farmers who have been recruited to participate in farmers markets located in LIUA. Taking an ethnographic approach, we seek to understand why farmer...
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Altering the radiation intensity in controlled environments can influence volatile organic compound (VOC) biosynthetic pathways, including those of terpenoids and phenylpropanoids. In turn, the concentrations of these compounds can have a profound effect on flavor and sensory attributes. Because sweet basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) is a popular culinar...
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As more of the U.S. population urbanizes, freshwater resources will become more partitioned and scarcer. Live plants need water to become established and survive, but water demands vary by taxa. Additionally, outdoor household water use is becoming a greater target for watering restrictions, particularly landscape irrigation. Yet, how important is...
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The goal of this study was to better understand consumers' likelihood to buy a plant when the word “sale” was presented in red font on a white sign, with a range of font sizes, showing an equivalent discounted price in three ways (dollar amount, 25% percent off, and buy-3-get-1-free), with the sale sign location either on the left or right side of...
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Eye tracking studies have analyzed the relationship between visual attention to point of purchase marketing elements (price, signage, etc.) and purchase intention. Our study is the first to investigate the relationship between the gaze sequence in which consumers view a display (including gaze aversion away from products) and the influence of consu...
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Retail signage provides information from the marketer to facilitate product purchase. An increase in sign information creates greater sign complexity, which raises the question: for consumer product choices, what quantity of information is helpful versus overwhelming? We hypothesize that consumers would allocate more visual attention to complex sig...
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Controlled environment (CE) food crop production has existed in the United States for many years, but recent improvements in technology and increasing production warranted a closer examination of the industry. Therefore, our objectives were to characterize historical trends in CE production, understand the current state of the U.S. hydroponics indu...
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The domestic market for melons, Cucumis melo L., has not been well characterized. The 2011 cantaloupe-related foodborne illness outbreak reduced melon production by 32%, and per capita consumption of cantaloupe and honeydew melons has not recovered. Our objective was to profile and characterize consumer segments of individuals who purchased melons...
Article
Successful water recycling initiatives depend on public acceptance. In this study, we compared risk percpetions of water labeled as recycled or reclaimed.We recruited 1264 subjects in an online panel (Qualtrics) and randomly assigned them either treatment (recycled or reclaimed) water and asked about the contents and perceived risk. Participants in...
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Understanding human behavior is a complicated and complex endeavor. Academicians and practitioners need to understand the underlying beliefs and motivations to identify current trends and to effectively develop means of communication and education that encourage change in attitudes and behavior. Sociological research can provide information about h...
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Activity level, or the amount of action/interaction with a product, can be an indication of interest in a product category and influences purchases. Our goal was to assess the overall market for landscape plants using consumers’ activity level from the active/passive continuum proposed by Pine and Gilmore (2011). An online survey instrument was adm...
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As more individuals use the Internet for business and leisure, the opportunities for firms to promote products and services and to communicate with consumers online increases. The objective of this study was to investigate green industry managerial decisions to engage in online advertising and how much to invest while determining the main drivers c...
Article
Consumers do perceive risk in purchase decisions and seek to reduce both uncertainty and probability of loss. Risk also varies across persons and purchasing situations. Retailers promote product guarantees as risk reducers, but the quantitative evidence is lacking. They offer guarantees to help resolve outcomes from post-purchase problems mainly, p...
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The strain on potable water supplies heightens the competition for water resources and potentially reduces the demand for outdoor plantings and landscaping. We conducted an online survey with 1543 respondents in 2016 to ascertain their water conservation and plant expertise, their involvement in water conservation and plant issues, and the importan...
Article
The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) is a diverse consortium of leaders who provide a unified voice for promoting the benefits and value of consumer horticulture (CH). NICH endeavors to unite national research efforts with the goals of the diverse stakeholders in the industry, the public sector, and the gardening public in an ef...
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Buying impulsiveness is frequently triggered by point-of-sale information. In order to impact consumer behavior, this information must be visually noticed. In this study, researchers propose that consumers’ level of buying impulsiveness impacts their visual attention to point-of-sale information (i.e., signs, displays). Specifically, individuals sc...
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Water is becoming scarcer as world population increases and will be allocated among competing uses. Some of that water will go toward sustaining human life, but some will be needed to install and support landscape plants. Thus, future water resource availability may literally change the American landscape. Recent research suggests that consumers’ a...
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Purpose This study aims to test the relationship between consumers’ perceptions of product type (utilitarian vs hedonic) and the attentional processes that underlie decision-making among minimally branded products. Design/methodology/approach This study uses eye-tracking measures (i.e. total fixation duration) and data collected through an online...
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In the coming decades, no natural resource may prove to be more critical to human health and well-being than water. There is abundant evidence that the condition of water resources in many parts of the United States is deteriorating. In some regions of the country, the availability of sufficient water to meet growing domestic uses, and the future s...
Article
With increasing market potential due to consumer interest in locally sourced foods, state marketing promotional campaigns are becoming increasingly popular. We quantify consumers’ perceptions of local production benefits and assess the impact of Florida's state agricultural promotional campaign on consumer preferences for and visual attention to fr...
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Little information has been published on the business and marketing practices of landscape firms, an important sector of the green industry. We sought to profile the product mix, advertising, marketing, and other business practices of United States landscape firms and compare them by business type (landscape only, landscape/retail, and landscape/re...
Article
Consumer horticulture (CH) programming can result in outcomes and impacts at the individual level, such as money saved by reducing inputs, greater return on the landscape investment, healthier plants, and improved quality of life. It may also lead to community-level impacts that provide public value, such as water quality protection, water conserva...
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Recent declines in pollinator populations have led to widespread concern due to their impact on food/crop production and the environment. Contrary to growing interest in the use of insecticides in urban landscapes, the relationship between pollinator-related eco-labels, visual attention, and preferences for plants is less understood. The present st...
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This study investigates how pricing and the representation of price (location of price sign, area of price number on price sign, extrinsic cue on price sign) influence consumer evaluation of nursery products. An incomplete orthogonal set of levels for each factor was used in a 3 5 factorial conjoint analysis. A web-based survey was conducted in Mar...
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Brands differentiate products from each other and help create the perception of added value. They influence product choice at the point of purchase with >70% of all buying decisions made in the store. Brands are often one of a few pieces of information consumers use to make product choices. Prior research showed that consumers had a greater likelih...
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The retail portion of the green industry, valued at $50.55 billion, continues to provide a major connection between the industry and consumers. Given the importance of retailers in the green industry and little research exists that documents their advertising practices and impacts, the 2013 Trade Flows and Marketing Practices survey included questi...
Chapter
Marketing practitioners and researchers operate on the underlying assumption that when looking at merchandise displays, consumers pay attention to both price and the merchandise itself. Further, they assume that price is a critical cue in making purchase decisions. What grabs consumer attention when first glancing at a display? Do some consumers fo...
Article
The strategic value of organic production and origin promotions may vary based on product end-use. Conjoint analysis and eye-tracking technology were used to investigate consumers’ purchase likelihood (PL) and visual search behavior for esthetic and food-producing ornamental plants. Organic production methods, in-state, and domestic origins positiv...
Article
Every industry undergoes changes, but structural changes can abruptly and radically alter business for many firms in that industry. Identifying the substantial shifts in the green industry with regard to consumer spending can help the industry better understand its history. Using an econometric model of that same consumer spending data to look forw...
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Marketers invest nearly 8% of their advertising budget on in-store marketing because >70% of all buying decisions are made at the point of purchase. Older consumers, especially Baby Boomers (typically classified as persons born from 1950 to 1965) have long been considered a core target market for horticultural products. However, some industry conce...
Article
Eye-tracking was used to identify potential location ‘premiums’ in discrete choice experiments for certain positions in the computer screen in terms of increasing the visibility, general interest and attention of respondents. The search dynamics to choose the optimal alternative closely resembled the natural process of reading in a ‘Z’ motion going...
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Declining bee populations has garnered media attention, which has pressured plant retailers to ask or demand the reduction or elimination of neonicotinoid insecticide use in greenhouse production. This study investigated consumer perspectives on eco-friendly ornamental plant production practices in combination with a variety of insect management pr...
Chapter
The purpose of our study was to employ a retail garden center context and the use of eye-tracking technology to analyze the relationship between attention to signage information cues and likelihood to buy (LTB) garden center products. We examined the influence of conservation effort and location (drought vs. non-drought) on this relationship. We hy...
Article
In order to compare the effect of polarization on linear sampling method, a comprehensive comparison is carried out. Several recoveries based on TE and TM polarization are done and different aspects of linear sampling including minimum number for needed Tx and Rx, optimum value for decision making threshold and resonance phenomena are considered. F...
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A rating-based conjoint experiment combined with eye-tracking analysis was used to investigate the effect of plant attributes on consumer purchase likelihood for indoor foliage plants. The experiment assessed the effects of plant type (Dracaena marginata Lam., Guzmania lingulata, or Spathiphyllum wallisii Regel), volatile organic compound (VOC) rem...
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Researchers received funding for the Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI) Coordinated Agricultural Project “Clean WateR3 —Reduce, Remediate, Recycle—Enhancing Alternative Water Resources Availability and Use to Increase Profitability in Specialty Crops” in September 2014. This project stemmed from a coordinated effort by scientists through a...
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Sustainability is one of the most important topics facing today's Green Industry. Consumers are increasingly savvy, but previous studies have shown some misperceptions concerning new terminology in the agricultural lexicon. With the recent focus on water issues in large portions of the United States, water conservation is a facet of sustainability...
Chapter
Pasture-based dairy farming in Michigan may be part of a solution to the dual problems of aging farmer populations and the disappearance of small- and medium-scale farms, as well as providing a host of ancillary benefits. Previous research has shown that many farmers lack effective promotional messages for this product, which is a significant barri...
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Due to cut flowers perishable nature, postharvest longevity and quality are very important traits to consumers. One means of communicating quality to consumers is through the use of guarantees. The aim of the present study was to investigate the importance of guarantees for different occasions and retail outlets. A survey was used to investigate co...
Article
The relationship between consumers' environmental concerns (EC) and willingness to pay (WTP) for sustainable plant attributes was investigated using 2012 data from a representative panel of US and Canadian consumers. The study linked three orientations of the EC scale (egoistic, altruistic, and biospheric) to WTP premiums for plant attributes such...
Article
Federal regulation of terms like local and organic ensure consistency in the marketplace, but unregulated terms such as eco-friendly and sustainable vary widely in use. A survey of representative US and Canadian consumers with questions including demographic, purchasing behavior, and attitude questions revealed varying perceptions of local, organic...
Conference Paper
A firm may spend as much as 8% of its total sales on in-store marketing but there is limited research on in-store displays. Eye-tracking technology has made it possible to isolate attention to individual elements of in-store marketing. For the current study, we applied product importance theory and the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) as theoreti...
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the role that visual measures of attention to product and information and price display signage have on purchase intention. The authors assessed the effect of visual attention to the product, information or price sign on purchase intention, as measured by likelihood to buy. Design/methodology/app...
Article
Experimental auctions were employed to investigate U.S. and Canadian consumers’ willingness to pay for sustainable attributes in plants. The results show consumers are willing to pay a price premium for energy and water savings in plant production of $0.15 and $0.12, respectively. Consumers are only willing to pay $0.08 more for sustainably labeled...
Article
Neonicotinoids have recently been implicated by the media as a contributing factor to the decline of honey and bumblebees. We sought to better understand consumer perceptions and willingness to pay for traditional, neonicotinoid-free, bee-friendly, or biological control pestmanagement practices as growers may seek alternative management practices t...
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Common marketing strategies include emphasizing products' "green" or environmentally friendly attributes and characteristics to appeal to a growing market of environmentally conscious consumers. While previous studies have used product labels such as "eco-friendly," "environmentally friendly," and "sustainable" to investigate consumer preferences,...
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Plants are often merchandised with minimal packaging; thus, consumers have only the plant (intrinsic cue) or information signs (extrinsic cues) on which to assess the product and base their purchase decision. Our objective was to segment consumers based on their preferences for certain plant display attributes and compare their gaze behavior when v...
Conference Paper
Participants from 6 locations viewed 5 unique plant displays with 3 manipulated signs per display to total 27 total treatment images. Three signs spanned the back, upper portion of each display to (a) identify the plants, (b) convey a fabricated horticultural production method (conventional, energy-saving, sustainable, or water-saving), and (c) con...
Conference Paper
An increasing trend among farmers in northern climates is the use of unheated greenhouses, commonly referred to as hoophouses or high tunnels. These hoophouses enable farmers to extend the growing season and provide locally grown, fresh produce for 10-12 months of the year. While hoophouses are relatively low cost plastic covered structures, for a...
Article
Choice experiments were conducted to explore the market potential or value added when using longevity information and guarantees on cut flower arrangements in the retail setting. The objective of our study was to determine consumer preferences and willingness to pay for different vase life longevities and guarantees on cut flower arrangements. The...
Article
We investigated how differences in the consideration of future consequences (CFC) influence consumers' willingness to pay for edible and ornamental plants using data from plant auction experiments conducted in the U.S. and Canada. Specifically, the study focused on individuals' preferences for plant attributes related to production method, containe...
Article
Pasture-raised (PR) milk is a specialty product that could feasibly be produced by economically challenged dairy farms. Our goal was to profile the milk market using an internet survey to identify potential future consumers of PR milk. There were 611 U.S. respondents that were divided into three categories as types of milk consumers: those who only...
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This study adds to the consumer choice literature by linking consumers’ environmental concern (EC) orientations (egoistic, altruistic and biospheric) to willingness to pay (WTP) premiums for proenvironmental attributes. Results from a mixed-ordered probit model showed that individuals were willing to pay a premium for energy-saving production pract...
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The varying terms associated with local and organic have the potential to confuse consumers as to their true meaning, especially with respect to production practices. For these reasons we examined the perceptions and misperceptions of the terms local and organic, specifically focusing on differences between U.S. and Canadian consumers. Our results...
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Christmas tree and poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) sales are static or declining nationally and in Michigan. The objectives of this project were to evaluate a ''buy local'' educational media campaign (''Make it a Real Michigan Christmas'') designed to increase sales of poinsettias and Christmas trees. Consumer online surveys were administered fo...