From Environmental Concern to Personal Risk: Separating Consumer Willingness-to-Pay for Non-Plastic Beverage Packaging

Last registered on October 04, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

From Environmental Concern to Personal Risk: Separating Consumer Willingness-to-Pay for Non-Plastic Beverage Packaging
Initial registration date
September 24, 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
October 04, 2023, 1:50 PM EDT

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


Primary Investigator

Texas A&M University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Microplastic contamination in beverages, stemming from plastic packaging, has emerged as a notable concern. While earlier studies largely centered on consumer behavior regarding the environmental impact of discarded bottles and the ensuing spread of microplastics throughout the ecosphere, recent advancements in food science reveal a direct health risk: the immediate contamination of beverages by their plastic packaging. This shifts the perception of the issue from a broad public good, environmental concern to a private, individual health risk. Using a choice experiment, this study assessed consumer willingness-to-pay (WTP) for beverages in plastic and non-plastic packaging with distinct information treatments. We separated the WTP values associated with broad environmental concerns about microplastic pollution from those tied to the direct health risks of packaging. We also gauged the potential impact of varied warning labels, highlighting environmental risks, direct health risks, or both, on consumer demand. Our findings provide insight into evolving consumer behaviors as broad public concerns transition to individualized risks. Furthermore, the results offer vital insights for the beverage industry and policymakers in tailoring packaging approaches to both environmental and health imperatives.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Zhang, Jingyuan. 2023. "From Environmental Concern to Personal Risk: Separating Consumer Willingness-to-Pay for Non-Plastic Beverage Packaging." AEA RCT Registry. October 04.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Consumer Willingness-to-Pay (WTP) for different packaging options.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The primary outcome will measure the amount consumers are willing to pay for beverages in plastic and non-plastic packaging when provided with specific information regarding the environmental and/or health risks associated with the packaging material.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
a. Consumer Preference for different packaging options.
b. The influence of demographic and socioeconomic variables on consumer choices.
c. The impact of different information treatments on consumer choices and WTP.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
a. Evaluate which packaging materials are most preferred by consumers when presented with different information treatments.
b. Analyze how factors such as age, income, education, and environmental consciousness affect consumer preferences and WTP for different packaging options.
c. Assess the differential impacts of information treatments on consumer preferences and WTP to understand the role of awareness in shaping consumer behavior.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Participants will be presented with various choice sets containing beverages in different packaging materials for different prices under varied information treatments.
Experimental Design Details
We use an unlabeled design Choice Experiment to create a diverse array of choice sets, combining different levels of packaging materials, information treatments, and prices. We plan to conduct two experiment studies, with about 4000 samples in China and 1000 samples in the US respectively. For each experiment, we randomly assign participants to four different groups exposed to four levels of different information treatments. The WTP is then estimated according to the responses.
Randomization Method
Randomization is done in the office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
The participants are randomized into different groups and exposed to different information treatments.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1250 control, 1250 exposed to information treatment I, 1250 to treatment II, and 1250 to treatment III (which includes both I and II).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


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