Willingness to Pay for Native Pollination of Blueberries: A Conjoint Analysis
This study estimates blueberry consumer reaction to a potential honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) management strategy; increased reliance upon native pollinators like the common Eastern Bumble bee (Bombus impatiens). A survey of 498 consumers was conducted using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Respondents were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 5, four different blueberry “packages” each containing five attributes; price, pollination method (native bee, commercial honey bee), fresh or frozen, produced in or out of state and variety (wild, cultivated). Statistical analysis suggests that the average consumer surveyed was willing to pay between $0.51 and $0.74 extra per dry liter for native pollination. Consumer willingness to pay of $0.51 extra per dry liter for an average hectare of blueberries was conservatively 1.75 times the annual cost per hectare for producers to plant wildflower pastures for native bees. Consequently, native pollination may be an economically viable alternative for blueberry producers facing the consequences of CCD and other causes of increased honey bee colony losses.