Semester of Graduation

May 2024


Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Document Type



Local, oftentimes independent, coffee shops in the US now measure over 38,000. These shops must differentiate themselves from chain coffee brands in order to compete in the bagged coffee market. Research shows consumers value certified labels, and these labels have the potential to help differentiate independent shops. This paper will look at coffee drinkers’ willingness to pay for certifications (Fairtrade, USDA Organic, Rainforest Alliance, Carbon Trust) and how it differs between national brands (Dunkin, Folgers, Starbucks) and a local provider specified by the individual respondent. Data collection took place in spring of 2024. Results indicated a preference for branded bagged coffee, especially local shop brands. Importantly, the Carbon Trust label, the label respondents were least familiar with, displayed synergistic positive effects in combination with branded local and Starbucks coffee, and consumers were WTP a premium for locally labeled Carbon Trust bagged coffee. These results can inform local coffee retailers to capitalize on their branding as local establishments.

Key words: local coffee, sustainability certifications, willingness to pay



Committee Chair

Penn, Jerrod