Holland has long been known as a hothouse for progressive ideas but the average Dutch consumer still finds that sustainably produced products are of poorer quality than industrially produced ones, and they aren't willing to pay more for them either.
A University of Groeningen survey found that consumers would be ready to pay only six percent more for sustainable, organic, fair trade or allegedly healthy products, however the price difference between those products and conventional ones runs between 10 and 40 percent.
The survey included basic foods, like jam, yogurt, butter, rice, and luxury products, such as coffee, chocolate, and beer.
While consumers acknowledged that organic or "light" products might have health benefits, they actually want to pay less for healthy products, the survey found.
"They think that these healthy products are less tasty and do not contribute enough to a ‘social feeling' to justify the high price," the researchers wrote. "It is also remarkable that consumers consider not only organic but also fair trade and healthy products to be of inferior quality."
The survey also found that people were more likely to indulge in sustainably produced luxury products - like fair trade chocolate- - to stave off feelings of the guilt of consuming the product instead of buying sustainable or organic basic provisions.
The survey results appeared October 16 in the journal Economische en Statistische Berichten.