THE CONSUMER COSTS OF FOOD CERTIFICATION
A study of grocery store rice in Salt Lake City

Certification labels have become a common feature on food products found across grocery store shelves. Two undergraduate student researchers from the University of Utah's Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program and I set out to better understand the cost to consumers of food product certification through a study of loose grain rice sold in Salt Lake City grocery stores. In this summary report, we look at two consumer “costs” associated with rice certification:

Product price. The study first documents the extent to which certification labels are associated with higher product prices, as well as if multiple certifications contribute to marginal increases in product prices.


Equity costs. The study further examines if the higher financial costs of certified products correspond with unequal access to certified products according to the socioeconomic characteristics of the communities in which grocery stores are located.

This project was conducted in collaboration with Adrienne Cachelin (on the left), from the University's Environmental and Sustainability Studies program.