Assistant Research Scientist, Agricultural Marketing
Dr. Kim's research focuses on understanding consumer behavior, measuring consumer demand, and analyzing price impact with regard to the agricultural and food sectors.
Her recent projects address consumers' responses to food labeling, linkages between consumer perceptions and revealed consumption, cross-cultural consumer responses to countries of origin, price asymmetric responses of vertical market channels and the influence of media on consumer perception.
Currently, she conducts research investigating the effectiveness of public relations and social media on consumer perception changes and demand for products.
Research: Consumers' responses to food labeling
Dr. Kim conducted a research measuring the effect of Front-of-package (FOP) nutrition labels. Consumers easily obtain nutritional information from food labels and the information influences consumer perception and consumption of products. FOP visually summarizes key nutritional information, calories, sodium, sugar and fat to help consumers make healthy food choices. However, the four major contents are mostly related to negative health conditions. Her research examines how consumers read two FOP labels of different types of beverages, one displaying only calories and the other displaying four negative nutrients as well as two positive nutrients. Originally, consumers perceived 100% juice as healthy drinks, while regular soft drinks were perceived as less healthy drinks. The results found that the FOP nutritional labeling reduced the gap of health perception between 100% juice and regular soft drinks. This suggests the necessity of reconsidering the labeling system to help consumers make healthy food choices.
Research: Linkages between consumer perceptions and revealed consumption
Researchers have long been interested in exploring the reasons for consumer actions in general and links between consumer attitudes and behavior. Dr. Kim explored linkages between consumers' heath perception about thirteen beverages and their beverage consumption. Consumers drank a greater share of a beverage when they perceived the beverage as healthy, and, in most cases, drank a smaller share of a beverage when they perceived alternative beverages as healthier. This result has important political implications related to nutritional information and efforts to reduce the incidence of obesity. Education and information leading consumers' heath perception may eventually change consumers' consumption behavior.
Research: Price asymmetric responses of vertical market channels
Dr. Kim developed a theoretical background of the price linkage among vertical market channels with asymmetry models to test if pricing linkages differ in rising versus falling markets and if any linkages are changing over time. That is, are retail food prices becoming less (or more) linked to farm gate prices? This research should have major implications for all aspects of marketing where policies targeting one point in the market chain have (or do not have) impact at other points in the food distribution system. Even though there are many factors influencing price linkages between market channels, weaker price linkages imply that price information at the farm market transmits poorly to the retail market.
AEB6817 - Survey Research Methodology for Economics.