Increasing Sales by Promoting the Attributes of Pecan through a Systematic Science-Based Marketing Strategy

Last registered on July 13, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Increasing Sales by Promoting the Attributes of Pecan through a Systematic Science-Based Marketing Strategy
Initial registration date
January 26, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 31, 2023, 12:04 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
July 13, 2023, 1:17 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Texas A&M
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Promoting health benefits and the taste of pecans could effectively increase purchase intention and willingness to pay (Robinson, 2020). However, a consumer generally faces tradeoffs between the healthiness and tastiness of food, which are linked to neurobiological processes underpinning food choice and control of eating behaviors (Lowe and Butryn, 2007). Taste, in particular, can be an essential demand determinant; however, it can contradict a person’s need for a healthy diet (Lowe and Butryn, 2007), especially among consumers of value-added products (Campbell and Shonkwiler, 2020). At the same time, health information could serve as a cue for low taste and high price (Jo and Lusk, 2018). Communicating the appropriate marketing information is essential for increasing producer and consumer welfare. That is, highlighting the “appropriate” attributes of foods may decrease the perceived tension between taste and health or clarify the common lay belief that “unhealthy food has a better taste.” The main goal is to quantify the potential economic benefits for producers and consumers of promoting evidence-based health benefits and taste-related attributes of pecans using two similar non-hypothetical incentive-compative elicitation methods. The results of our study will serve as a basis to (1) identify promotion and marketing practices in the pecan industry, which will have the potential to be expanded to the entire specialty crop industry, (2) determine whether experts have accurate information on consumers preferences, and (3) provide a better understanding of the role of elicitation methods on consumer and producer valuation
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Melo, Grace, Laura Chomali and Marco Palma. 2023. "Increasing Sales by Promoting the Attributes of Pecan through a Systematic Science-Based Marketing Strategy." AEA RCT Registry. July 13.
Experimental Details



We will conduct two experimental studies using different marketing messages (information treatments). The
information treatments will be employed in two economic experiments: (1) an online survey with consumers
and (2) an online survey with experts.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
willingness to pay
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
consumer's valuation will be captured in each market scenario

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
experts ( producers) best guess about consumer value
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
producer guess of consumer's willingness to pay in each market scenario.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design

Experimental design for consumer valuation
The information treatments are employed in an online survey with consumers using a between-subject design. We will also employ two similar non-hypothetical incentive-compatible elicitation methods, only differing by the way the market price is set in a within-subject design: (1) a BDM and (2) a seller fixed price.
For method (1), we conduct an auction-like method to estimate the maximum Willingness to Pay (WTP) for 8 oz pecan product. This method is the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (BDM), developed by Becker, et al. (1964) and widely used in experimental economics for understanding the process behind economic choice (Shogren and Lusk, 2007).
For method (2), we estimate WTP using a similar strategy as method (1). The only difference is consumers are told that the market price in the experiment is determined by actual pecan producers. Previous to the online survey, we asked a group of pecan producers their minimum willingness to accept (WTA) to sell the pecan products. Their WTA is then used as the market price in the consumer study.
In sum, for methods (1) and (2), two prices are involved: the offer price of the buyer and a market fixed price. The fixed price is either randomly drawn in the case of method (1) or determined by producers in the case of method (2). Any trade that takes place is for the fixed price. Thus both methods are non-hypothetical and incentive-compatible.
Experimental Design Details
The study is conducted online via Forthright with consumers across the US to obtain more geographically dispersed consumer acceptance estimates in the country. For each of the information treatment conditions, a subject is involved in the following steps:
1. Subject is asked his/her incentivized WTP for the pecan product (with health or taste-related information depending on treatment condition) based on elicitation method (1) or (2)
2. Subject is asked to choose a number between 1 and 10. The computer also randomly draw a number between 1 and 10. If the number subject selects matches the one drawn by the computer, the pecan market transaction is implemented based on the subject’s decision.
3. Subject then repeats steps (1) and (2) based on elicitation method (1) or (2) depending on whether the subject faced method (1) first or method (2).
Subject is explained in each method the following: If bid is higher or the same as the fixed price, subjects buy the pecan product and pay the fixed price. The fixed price is subtracted from the $10 endowment given to participants if the transaction is selected for implementation.
Experimental design for experts’ valuation
We conduct an online survey with producers and economists to elicit experts' perceptions of consumer valuation. The four information treatments and control are employed in the survey using a within-subject design. A subject face the market scenarios we presented to consumers in the consumer study, thus a subject faces a total of 10 market scenarios. A subject is involved in the following steps:
1. Subject is informed that before the survey, we asked consumers for their WTP for pecan products for five market scenarios using two elicitation methods.
2. Subject is asked to provide his/her best guess of consumer WTP for each of the information treatments and their confidence level of the perceived accuracy of his/her guess.
Randomization Method
randomization done by computer
Randomization Unit
It is at participant level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
500 consumers (100 in each treatment)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We need at least 63 subjects per treatment for a medium effect size.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials