Sep 27, 2017
Berry tunnel use, consumer preferences surveyed

TunnelBerries researchers Kathy Kelley and Kathy Demchak, both Penn State University personnel, will administer two Internet surveys to learn about growers’ experiences with high and low tunnels and consumer behavior and attitudes toward tunnel production.

The goals of the two surveys are to gather information on topics related to use of the tunnels and plastics, with additional information related to production and marketing collected from current, former, and future growers of raspberries and strawberries.

By surveying current and previous high/low tunnel growers, the researchers can identify: 1) reasons why they grow/grew berry crops in the tunnels; 2) common obstacles (e.g., financial, marketing challenges, structural issues) they have encountered; 3) how they learn about plastic film features and what factors influence their purchasing decision; and 4) how they handle and dispose of plastic after being removed from the tunnels.

Growers who have not yet produced a berry crop in a high/low tunnel, but have plans to do so, will be asked to indicate: 1) what is primarily influencing their decision to grow berries in tunnels; 2) expectations regarding berry crop yields; 3) new markets they hope to serve with berries they harvest from the tunnels; and 4) any experiences they have had with selecting plastics, growing other crops under plastic films, and disposing of, reusing, and/or recycling plastics.

A survey will be developed and administered to consumers to learn about: 1) their berry purchasing behaviors; 2) attitudes and behaviors pertaining to recycling and local food production; 3) preferences when weighing plastics use vs. potential for reduced pesticide applications; and 4) response to price premiums associated with costs growers may acquire when using tunnels.

Responses to survey questions will yield the following outcomes:

  • The protective structure industry will better understand  their clientele’s uses of, needs, issues and benefits regarding protective structures and plastics
  • The recycling industry will better understand grower viewpoints on constraints related to recycling of tunnel plastics
  • Development of realistic strategies for increasing tunnel plastics recycling
  • Growers will understand consumer demand, and likelihood to purchase berries grown under protective structures
  • Growers will understand consumer response to premium priced berries

Source: TunnelBerries





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