Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Community Development and Applied Economics

First Advisor

Jane Kolodinsky

Abstract

Although its relevance has ebbed and flowed, hemp production has persisted over several centuries. Over time, its popularity has been interrupted by competing products, public health concerns and regulatory barriers. A renaissance of hemp production has emerged in the U.S., particularly after regulatory barriers fell in 2014 and 2018. This has given rise to a growing market of diverse hemp-based food, medicinal, textile and industrial products. Adding to the political, technological and financial challenges facing this nascent industry is a demonstrated need for consumer behavior research on how products made with hemp-based ingredients are received, if at all, by consumers.

Existing research on hemp consumption largely focuses on hemp cannabidiol products, which have gained substantial popularity since hemp’s legalization. However, this represents just one of the thousands of products that can be processed from hemp and cannabidiol alone cannot sustain the industry. As such, further examination of the hemp consumer is necessary. Peer reviewed literature points to the need for analyses that specifically address the many products that hemp can produce and that evaluate characteristics beyond consumer demographics.

Therefore, this thesis examines data collected from a survey of Vermont residents on their perceptions of hemp as an innovative input. We first examine how perceptions of hemp influences consumer propensity to choose or reject each of eight hemp product categories. We then analyze cumulative adoption behavior, modeling the total use of hemp products as innovations diffusing through the marketplace. Findings contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the hemp consumer and examine how that behavior can be employed by industry and policy stakeholders.

Language

en

Number of Pages

95 p.

Available for download on Thursday, August 11, 2022

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