Hemp on the horizon: Understanding the influences on industrial hemp purchases
Keywords:Consumer Choices, Spiral of Silence, Agricultural Production
The industrial hemp market is expected to grow in upcoming years due to increased use in food, paper, and personal care products, opening new opportunities for farmers across the United States. An increase in hemp products provides an opportunity to better understand consumer preferences and to educate consumers on hemp. The purpose of this research was to understand what influences consumers’ purchases of hemp products. This study was guided by the spiral of silence theory, which proposed that people will conform their attitudes and behaviors to match the perceived majority’s opinion. Students in college-level introductory science courses were surveyed and their attitude toward industrial hemp, perceptions of others’ attitude toward industrial hemp, and knowledge on hemp were measured. Data were analyzed using means, frequencies, and logistic regression. Most respondents reported not having purchased a hemp product in the past six months. The only predictors of hemp purchases were gender and attitude. When accounting for spiral of silence variables and personal characteristics, females were more likely than males to purchase hemp products. Extension educators should partner with hemp growers and processors to discuss how people are commonly using hemp products and to communicate to producers how consumers are using the products.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Taylor K. Ruth, Blake C. Colclasure, Nathan Conner, Andrea Holmes, Tessa Durham Brooks
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